By Molly Reiter

CORNELIUS – Let’s face it: The first bite of a really excellent steak is always the best. The juices and sear are still warm with a melt-in-your-mouth tenderness.

But it’s impossible to replicate that first bite taste for an entire steak, right?


The chef and owners at Hot Stone Grill have figured out how to create a steak, swordfish or ahi tuna – or even alligator tail – that is perfect to the last bite. At Hot Stone, the person who knows you best will cook your entrée at the table; and that, of course, is you.

Nazira Atme and Henry Lentzy are the owners behind the Hot Stone Grill. The menu has a choice of entrées that include angus steak, fish and chicken.

Your choice is served to you on a 600-degree hot volcanic stone sprinkled with Himalayan salt.

No fat is used in the cooking, just that special salt and some seasonings. As the steam envelops your senses, watch as the entrée cooks right before your eyes. Cut off a piece and note the doneness. If it is not cooked to your liking, simply put it back on the stone.

The most amazing thing is that the stone will not burn the food because the heat is so evenly distributed.

“It is not the same taste as you would get from a grill,” Lentzy said. “The stone maintains the meat’s own juices and flavor. It’s an amazing, succulent difference.”

Although there are other restaurants using hot stones in the U.S., this is the first one in North Carolina.

The hot stone entrées are not the only works of art on the menu; there are also masterpieces masquerading as salads and eight European dishes including Rinds Roulade from Germany, Shepherds Pie from England and Beef Bourguignon from France.

The worldly flavors of the menu are testament to Atme and Lentzy’s European backgrounds.

Atme was born in France and is of French and Lebanese descent. Lentzy is German. But none of this would be possible without their head chef, the calm and creative Brian Hatten.

Hatten graduated from Central Piedmont Community College with a degree in culinary arts. He has worked as a sous chef at Capitol Grill in Charlotte, The Peninsula Club in Lake Norman and Damon’s Grill.

“He really understood what we are trying to do,” said Atme. “He is the perfect fit for our restaurant.”

Hatten’s menu items are big hits, especially his Hot Stone Sausage Dip.

“It’s an old family recipe,” Hatten said. “I wanted to something hearty with a bit of spice now that it is getting cold out.”

He is now working on a dessert that will cook on the hot stone.

The restaurant is purposely small to create an intimate, experience. It is very important that patrons feel comfortable.

“We are not trying to turn over your table as quickly as possible,” Lentzy said. “We want you to stay and sit and enjoy, as if you were in Europe.”

The restaurant is open for dinner. The owners hope to have lunch going in early 2013.

“You are the boss of your own plate,” said Lentzy. “So you are going to love it.”

Want to go?

The Hot Stone Grill

12015 Kenton Place Drive, Cornelius