By Mike Thayer
My Dad and Stepmom took my wife Filiz & I out for lunch today, we went to Stella in Iowa City.
The wife and I have never been to Stella, it's a nice little place on Melrose. Arriving right at noon we were greeted warmly and seated right away. Stella was busy, but not so busy that there wasn't a table available. On this warm March day, the windows were open letting in a nice breeze and the patio was in use.
Our waitress was great. We all ordered water and it was promptly provided, my wife Filiz and I wanted lemon slices, quickly delivered. Our food also arrived in very timely fashion, with all our orders correct and delivered with a smile. I ordered a Cobb salad with the bacon on the side so my wife could share (she doesn't eat bacon). My Stepmom also ordered a Cobb salad, but with the balsamic vinaigrette served on the side. My wife Filiz ordered a black bean burger with guacamole and my Dad ordered cheesy fries.
The Food Breakdown:
The Cobb salad was tasty, a nice selection of greens laced with chicken (a bit bland), shrimp (perfectly cooked), tomato, blue cheese and of course, the bacon. The balsamic vinegarette was spot on and the salad portion was large. It was satisfyingly filling.
The cheesy fries looked great, they definitely don't skimp on the cheese, it also came with bacon and was sprinkled with some green onion. But the base, the fries... Well, they weren't seasoned well and fries are supposed to have a bit of crisp on the outside, fluff on the inside. These weren't. "Soggy" fries is the best way to describe them.
The black bean burger was disappointing. I shared half the sandwich with the wife. It was a bit bland and didn't have the texture that a good blackbean burger should. It should have some firmness on the outside, this was mushy. On the side, the soggy fries.
It's a cute place, a convenient location, ample parking for the lunch hour, the service is great, but... The food, not so much. Don't get me wrong, it's not, "I'll never go there again" bad food, but it was a bit disappointing considering the ambience and the menu. The lunch menu ran around $10 a plate. Stella gets three stars out of five. The service carried the day. Stella is located at:1006 Melrose Ave
Iowa City, IA 52246