Arizona’s at Stonecrest is a great looking restaurant. It’s spacious inside, surprisingly so given how compact the building appears from the outside. The waitstaff dress all in black, and are efficient but unobtrusive. The background music is jazz, not too soft, not too loud. There is a bar on the left as you enter, two good sized flat screen televisions on view, and sofas are available, so you can sit and watch while your party assembles.
These virtues, and the lack of other functional alternatives, have turned Arizona’s into the best place for adults in Lithonia to meet and greet. It also makes it a place where parties happen. A party was happening as we entered, a girl’s night out, perhaps, or a shower or wedding party. They were happily and noisily taking photos of each other, and drinking plenty of wine.
This leads to one central problem that Arizona’s does have. The restaurant is, in essence, one large shared room. If a single table is loud, everyone gets to hear it. If a party is loud, then to a first approximation, that party is being shared by the whole restaurant. And that wasn’t much of a problem when we arrived and were hungry, but it made it very easy to leave after the entrees were finished. Now I’ve done reviews of restaurants that were having parties and seldom has a party affected the mood of my eating. I think the difference is that in the other instances, the parties were being housed in separate rooms, and the noise reduction was substantial.
That said, let’s talk about food. We ordered a starter, the Denver lamb ribs, and we ordered the hickory grilled Atlantic salmon, Arizona’s baby back ribs, and their signature sirloin. We ordered salads with the ribs and the steak. My daughter had a side of mashed potatoes with her salmon. Before the food arrived, a loaf of bread arrived at the table.
It was a decent bread, even if I found crusts on the very ends a little dry. The house salad was also a nice plate of greens.
Pretty soon after the lamb arrived. I liked this appetizer a lot, as did my daughter, considering how quickly she went for seconds.
There was a bit more of a wait, a second loaf of bread appeared, and then the entrees arrived at the table. Of all the dishes, perhaps the salmon was the best received. It had two good sides, the grits and the mashed potatoes, and the salmon was very appetizing as well. My wife didn’t like the sweetness the spinach and chili oil imparted, but I liked the bit of fish I tried, and my daughter ate most of her fish.
The baby back ribs are a huge plate of food, mostly dry and have a bit of a smoke flavor. I was a little surprised, not expecting that from steakhouse ribs. I’d call this entree a success as well.
The least successful entree was the steak. It had taste, and was a genuine medium rare for the most part, but the meat was relatively tough and chewy. I’ve had consistently better and more tender sirloins at much less expensive steakhouses. The steamed vegetables were also just okay. Had I known, I’d have gotten the same dish my daughter ordered.
More quibble perhaps than critique: Arizona’s seems to rely a lot of sauces, marinades, and coatings to get more flavor out of their dishes. I find this curious since steaks need little more than salt, cracked pepper and garlic to bring out their best flavors. The best proofs, however, of the success of this approach are the full restaurant we saw when we came, and the crowds that mark up this restaurant on review sites such as Urban Spoon.
Verdict: Mostly good food. Highly recommended if you’re looking for a place to hold a party.
Arizona’s at Stonecrest
2940 Stonecrest Circle
Lithonia, GA 30038