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Standard Grill


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#1 Sneakeater

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 03:04 PM

I was all prepared to write about how much better the Standard Grill is than you'd expect, much better than it needs to be, yadda yadda yadda. Only problem is, it's not that good. Oh, well.

The Standard Grill is a casual restaurant in the Standard Hotel, in what we used to call the Meatpacking District but which I am sure the hotel will now claim to be the High Line District (the park goes right through the hotel). There's a sort of indoor pavillion with a bar area and a dining room, and a huge outdoor area. Unfortunately for me (it was hot and humid last night), but fortunately for my date (she could smoke through dinner), they could only seat us outside.

The first thing to note, as you all know, is that this place is slammed. It took off like a rocket when it opened a month or so ago. I don't think I've ever seen anyplace so crowded.

Why?

I have no idea, really.

The dining room -- whatever glance I could catch of it -- seemed pretty nice. The indoor bar area is functional. And the outdoor area -- well, you're sitting in a concrete lot under the High Line. But the food?

The chef here is Dan Silverman, late of the Lever House. This is a different level of things, of course. You might call it American Bistro food. Or Franco-American casual. Fairly simple, fairly forthright. Could be good. But it just didn't quite make it. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing terribly right, either.

I started with squid stuffed with chorizo. I have had several excellent renditions of this dish, from John Dorey (where it is fabulous) on down. This was middling. It strains my analytic ability to say why. The chorizo wasn't particularly flavorful; the squid was a bit greasy.

Then, a cold lobster salad. This could have been simple and elegant, but instead it was generic.

Prices are not terribly steep, although they're a little high for what they're serving.

The wine list is boring -- except that they have Sauvignon Blanc St. Bris, which I didn't know anyone else had ever heard of (I use it as a spoiler for guests at home -- who knew they make sauvignon blanc in Burgundy?).

Obviously, no place this crowded could be comfortable. The noise is earsplitting.

It's just weird how popular it is. It's operating at the level of a decent neighborhood spot. I'm really kind of at a loss.
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#2 StephanieL

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 03:24 PM

RG just gave it a good review.

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#3 Sneakeater

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 03:31 PM

So did Steve Cuozzo.

As I said, I'm at a loss.
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#4 Steve R.

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 03:32 PM

QUOTE(Sneakeater @ Aug 12 2009, 11:31 AM) View Post
So did Steve Cuozzo.

As I said, I'm at a loss.


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#5 Sneakeater

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 03:36 PM

Must be.
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#6 Rich

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 03:37 PM

QUOTE(Sneakeater @ Aug 12 2009, 11:31 AM) View Post
So did Steve Cuozzo.

As I said, I'm at a loss.

I think it's safe to say Sneak, that we trust your judgement more than the NYC food critics.

#7 nuxvomica

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 03:58 PM

isn't everyone pretty much saying the food is ok but the scene is great?
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#8 Daisy

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 04:18 PM

A scene it may be but I walk past there fairly often and it does not appeal to me at all. And it's the 'under the Highline' aspect of it I don't like. It seems gloomy and slightly oppressive, almost claustrophobic. And all I can think of is the pigeons that must be roosting on those beams.

On the other hand I can't understand why the lounge/balcony in the Standard that looks on to the Highline, the one with the gorgeous red Bertoia chairs, is always empty.

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#9 Sneakeater

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 04:20 PM

I didn't know it was even open yet.

You're right about "oppressive". I just didn't find dining in that outside area pleasant at all.
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#10 Rich

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 04:26 PM

QUOTE(Sneakeater @ Aug 12 2009, 12:20 PM) View Post
I didn't know it was even open yet.

You're right about "oppressive". I just didn't find dining in that outside area pleasant at all.

How is it set up SE? It sounds almost like an upscale beer garden.

#11 Sneakeater

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 04:30 PM

I think the idea is that eventually (like in the Fall) it will actually be a beer garden.

Actually, I'm being slightly inaccurate. There are a bunch of outdoor tables -- two-tops and four-tops -- clustered around the pavilion that houses the indoor restaurant proper. That's where I ate. It's clearly an outdoor adjunct to the restaurant.

There are some partitions around that cluster of tables, and beyond that are a very large group of long tables with benches (I think). THAT'S going to be the beer garden, with sausages and such.
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#12 Sneakeater

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 05:34 PM

Oh, I forgot . . .

COMP DISCLOSURE: A plate of papas bravas. (Yeah, Wilfrid, the sauce was orange.)
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#13 Sneakeater

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 04:42 PM

This place continues to get such favorable reviews that I really wish someone else would eat there and let me know if I was just overcome by prejudice.
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#14 Sneakeater

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 04:42 PM

Or maybe I ordered wrong.
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#15 nuxvomica

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 09:07 PM

i know some food writers (not reviewers) who were not particularly impressed, if that helps laugh.gif

ETA: it's possible said writers did not see (or care for) any celebrities
“Eat me,’’ it says. “Eat me and die.’’ -- Jonathan Gold

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