Riverstone Steakhouse

4299 Lawrenceville Highway N.W., Lilburn. 770-638-1780

One of the new upscale dining options this year in the suburbs is Riverstone Steakhouse, in a former sports bar on U.S. 29 in Gwinnett County. Passing by the seven-month-old Lilburn restaurant while zooming along the road would be a mistake, if you're in the mood for meat.

Steakhouse setting

The décor does a good job of hiding the fact that this space used to be a sports bar, with wine bottles on display near the entrance and small spotlights that soften the harshness of the gray brick walls and exposed ceiling. To go along with the wine theme, there are special five-course monthly wine and beer dinners. The wait staff looks and acts professional, and there's also seating at the bar and on a patio.

Big bites

The steak bites starter, which has been made into the steak skewers entrée as part of a menu revision after our visit, is a delicious plate of sirloin tips with a citrus-like seasoning, paired well with grilled cherry tomatoes that retain their juiciness. We pushed aside the bland seafood bisque in favor of this dish.

The menu update also expanded the appetizers lineup, with starters now ranging from wings to fried artichoke hearts to mussels. The entrees also come with a salad, and the Caesar salad is impressive, with crisp lettuce, creamy dressing and crunchy croutons that tasted like they were homemade.

Meat and more

The entrée section of the menu also has had some adjustments, with a decrease in prices since our visit and additions like country fried steak and fried catfish. But steak and seafood remain the focal point. The black Angus filet is a good cut of meat and not overly seasoned, although ours arrived a few shades pinker than we preferred. They were glad to take the steak to the kitchen and returned it cooked more to our liking. The Riverstone mixed combo allows diners to create their own meal, from surf and turf to chicken and beef. In our all-seafood platter, the grilled shrimp are large and succulent and overshadow the chewy scallops.

There are several sides to choose from – go for the grilled cherry tomatoes or fluffy sweet potato with butter and brown sugar instead of the baked potato, which tasted as if it had been reheated from the previous day. The meat theme is extended to the children's menu, which includes a burger and steak bites, among other kids favorites. Beef is even in the salad we selected – a black and blue Caesar with blackened Angus sirloin. Other salads include pecan-crusted chicken salad and shrimp salad, among others. For dessert, the chocolate cobbler was recommended, but it looked and tasted more like a chewy brownie than a traditional southern cobbler. The restaurant features daily food and drink specials and brunch on Sunday.

AT A GLANCE

Signature dish: Riverstone Mixed Combo, steak skewers

Entree prices: $9.99-$22.95

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays; 5-11 p.m. Saturdays; noon-10 p.m. Sundays; closed Mondays.

Reservations: Yes

Credit cards: Yes

Online: www.riverstonesteakhouse.com

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