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The Stonehouse Grill (Formerly The Flaming Pit), Gaithersburg - A Modernization of the Old-School American Surf-n-Turf House with Piano Lounge


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The Flaming Pit - Gaithersburg MD

This restaurant has been here forever. I had never been there until last night. We were a group of about fifteen so I was expecting mediocre food with lousy service.

I was totally shocked - The bread is made fresh there - It was definitely made that day very fresh and tasty. The Prime Rib had incredible flavor and was the best that I have had in a very long time.

This summer I have been business traveling a lot, so my tastebuds may be getting used to mediocre to poor hotel travel food and something that was above average tasted incredible - But I really enjoyed it.

This is a definite go back for me - Did a board search and did not even get a hit - Montgomery County folks - Please chime in.

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In South Florida, The Flaming Pit is a chain of steak places barely a step up from Sizzler. Their appeal is ridiculously cheap (but still not a bargain) early bird dinners, which the seniors flock to like, well, insert your own metaphor.

I had always assumed that this was part of the same chain, so even though I've lived within a 10 minute drive of the place for 15 years, I never went.

I did a quick Google search, and other than the name, there seems to be no connection. So maybe I'll give it a try some time. Though the menu still looks more like a place my grandparents would go than a place that I would usually go...

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Somehow I thought I had posted about it before...

When Kay and I first moved to the area, we lived in Extended Stay America for 7 months. We called it the box! We did go to the Flaming Pit and had a blast from the past. The martini was cold and good, the salads properly (ie 60 green goddess glopped on a little too thick) heavy on the dressing but it did appear to be house made. The steak was OK and the prime rib I recalled to be a little on the steamed side, great flavor but a touch tough. There was a good pianist I recall. We have always talked about going back but never have.

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The Flaming Pit located on Rt. 355 in Gaithersburg has a piano lounge that offers a competent piano player six or seven nights a week beginning about 7:30 pm. For me, I love the fact that I can get there early (4 to 7 pm) which secures me a good table near the piano and ALSO secures EARLY BIRD PRICING for me and my guests. The place fills up about 8 pm, and if you arrive after 8 or 9 pm, you may need to sit at the bar, which is farther away from the piano than the tables. The EARLY BIRD PRICING is a great deal. They offer at least six choices of entrees which all come with your choice of soup or salad, and the price is $12.95. For an additional $5, you can have a red or white wine with your meal. Three of us went there on Friday night and the total check after three hours of eating and drinking AND listening to a wonderful piano player, came to $75 including tax and tip! And the cream of crab soup was delicious. The piano player has a large repertoire of memorized songs though he does occasionally use sheet music for a lesser known song. He takes requests from diners all night long who may want to hear a favorite song and the lounge has "regulars" who come up to the piano to sing. When we were there, there was also a talented harmonica player and a very talented sax player who accompanied the piano on several songs. There is no dance floor but they do allow dancing on the carpet next to the piano. I requested my favorite jitterbug (Satin Doll) and my favorite cha-cha (Tea For Two) and I got to dance to both songs. The three of us had a wonderful evening.

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I can't think of very many places in this area where you can get good food and have something of a dance floor at the same time. When I go to south Louisiana you can find these places almost everywhere. It really puts a smile on peoples faces and is a fun atmosphere. The only thing is you have to go in expecting some degree of loudness and warm temperatures.

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I can't think of very many places in this area where you can get good food and have something of a dance floor at the same time. When I go to south Louisiana you can find these places almost everywhere. It really puts a smile on peoples faces and is a fun atmosphere. The only thing is you have to go in expecting some degree of loudness and warm temperatures.

Yes, it really is pretty amazing that there are not more venues that offer dancing when MOST women love to dance.

And, when you consider the hundreds of thousands of people in this area who are middle aged or older, you wonder why there are practically no venues that offer the kind of music that they like (standards, oldies, show tunes).

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Okay, so I have a dinner date at The Flaming Pit next week. :)

Question: Is there *anything* there (other than Dean's martini) that's worth drinking, preferably in terms of wine? I picture them serving gallon jugs (with that little loop handle) of Gallo Hearty Burgundy, or Martini & Rossi, or whatever swill is being sold these days. Is there any chance of anything red that won't cost me $125 for a bottle of negociant Burgundy? I think I have to go with the prime rib, right?

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Don... don't go there expecting real food and drink, you will surely be disappointed Go for the scenery and the memory of days past!

That was our first "dinner out" when we moved to DC and were living at teh Extended Stay America down the road!

Will i get decent prime rib? (Hint: say no - we can always head up to Family Meal.) ;)

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The prime rib was cooked in a steamer after being roasted IIRC. THe Golden Bull is a totally different vibe. We were stuck in Gaithersberg for a long time!

This reminds me of the Commissioner of the United States Commission of Civil Rights, Roberta ACHtenburg.

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I'll check today, I drive by on my way home from work most days.

Hubby and I have been a few times.  Usually a Friday or Saturday night when we want to eat out, but don't want to wait in a long line.  We tend to go in the winter and sit by the lovely fire place.  The food is okay, rarely good and never great.  The wine, Don, is exactly what you describe.  As for old school, if you pay with a credit card, you get a CARBON PAPER receipt back.  Hadn't seen one of those in many years.

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Does anyone know if it is closed?  There seemed to be construction going on for a while but that doesn't seem to be ongoing.  It was dark last night. and I couldn't get the website to load...  

I drove by there today in that I was involved with the design for the renovation of the Lake Forest Animal Hospital next door and thought that the construction that you saw was a part of that expansion.  There was a sign on door saying that the restaurant will be closed as of August 12th for renovations.  I know that as of a year ago, the owner was interested in selling the restaurant but have no idea how this may or may not be affecting the current renovations.

- P

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