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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Gold Standard

Last night, I headed down to Meatpacking with some co-workers to check out the Standard Grill.  You may have heard the best part of The Standard is the scandalous view into the non-curtained hotel rooms - use your imagination.  But I'm here to tell you, the food's not bad, either.

We started by sharing a few apps:

  • Charcuterie plate, which came with about seven different meats 
  • What's a plate of meat without cheese?  So next we ordered the heirloom tomato/mozzarella salad.  Tomatoes are much more fun when they're not boring old red.
  • Charred octopus with sweet potatoes and chiles - a new flavor combo for me.  The flavors worked together, but the sweet potatoes should have been a little firmer, their texture detracted from the octopus, which was perfectly grilled.
When it came time to pick our entrees, everyone started talking about how good the halibut looked (with white and green asparagus and a poached quail egg).  By the time the waiter came to take our orders, everyone had decided on the halibut.  NOT SO FAST.  Time to step back and think about this.  We go to a trendy, Meatpaking restaurant and everyone's going to order the same thing?  No way am I going to waste a trip all the way down there without checking out the extent of their kitchen prowess so although it looked good, I branched out by ordering two appetizers as my entree.

  • Fois gras with huckleberries - they won me over on portion size here with the two huge slices.  I prefer fois gras slightly seared, but this was still very tasty.  My only complaint is that it could have used more huckleberry.
  • Haricots verts salad (tossed with yogurt, cinnamon, and crispy shallots).  Such a simple dish but so delicious.  I need to figure out how to replicate it.  Although the components sound heavier, the chilled green beans were very refreshing.  It was perfectly juxtaposed with the richer flavors of the fois gras.
You'd think six girls would take it easy on the desserts after a meal like that, but then you really wouldn't know me very well.  I thought we were ordering two, but somehow we wound up with four.  I'm not complaining.

  • The Deal Closer: chocolate mousse, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings.  It was presented in a large glass mixing bowl with a spatula.  Who doesn't love eating dessert with oversized cooking utensils?  
  • A warm, gooey brownie topped with ice cream and caramel.  Read that simple description.  It's pretty obvious we destroyed it.
  • Wake and Bake: Warm chocolate chip cookies served with a jug of milk.  Good name; good dessert.
  • My favorite: strawberry rhubarb crumble.  The other desserts were oozy/chocolately/cutesy, but the flavor of this one was different and stirred me out of my choco coma.
The food was good, but my favorite part is that it was not overcomplicated.  If you ever have a picky eater in the group and find it difficult to agree on a fine dining restaurant, try Standard Grill.  The food is fancy but not too frilly from the apps to the desserts, which were like the baked goods that come out of my Mommy's kitchen on steroids.

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