The Standard Grill

2009_06_standardopening The streets are hopping, the windows are open, the bars are packed walking up and down Washington Street.  The Standard has truly changed the neighborhood.  I was given a tour of the restaurant during construction and really thought they were doing a great job.  Now, seeing the final product, I still feel the same way. 

The front room is a long bar on one side, probably fits over 25 people, and the left room is filled with tables.   The low ceiling and big windows give the room a feeling of intimacy and the white and black tiles on the floor make the restaurant feel a little bit like a high end fish place out of Boston.  Not sure why I felt that way but I did.  This is the more casual area.  The back room, which is the main restaurant has a more clubby feel.  Dark woods, a very cool penny tiled floor with booths and leather chairs.  An open kitchen in the back where there are also a few stools to sit and watch the food get made.  I like the whole vibe. 

The menu is big but not too big.  You can order from the counter from a variety of salamis and oysters.  I like that you can get a half a dozen oysters and a glass of Dom Perignon.  A nice touch.  There are about 8 different appetizers, the same amount of sides and main courses and then an addition of mains from the grill. 

At the table is a small bowl of chopped Parmesan cheese and another bowl of long radishes and chunky sea salt on the side.  Nice touch and different.  I am a huge fan of the radishes. 

We began with 2 different appetizers.  Octopus that had been cooked and then charred in paprika to give it a Spanish flavoring with chopped sweet potatoes and chilis on the side.  A really nice dish, light but packed a flavorful punch.  We also tried a salad.  Thinly sliced snow peas and thinly sliced radishes with a light cider vinaigrette.  Pretty tasteless, needed salt and just didn't do anything for me. 

Main courses.  Braised Loup de Mer in a shallow bowl served over a chorizo-fennel broth.  Light, well cooked and tasty.  The other was from the grill page.  Swordfish that had been marinated with soy, lime and ginger with a side of some type of mixture of the three to create a chutney.  Heavy heavy handed.  The fish was overcooked and like eating a hunk of steak.  The flavor was so intense that it just overpowered the entire plate.  I barely made a dent on that.  We did have some sides.  A mixture of gold and candy stripe beets roasted with a butter sauce and chopped peanuts.  Really delicious, well cooked and glad I had it.  We also had the duck fat potatoes that have an orange sauce strewn across the top which must be the duck fat but it really gives the potatoes an unappetizing look.  Cream spinach was really good with shaved cheese over the top.  Nice.

We did go with a dessert.  We split the strawberry fool.  Strawberries, chopped, in mascarpone cream over a vanilla sponge cake and shaved strawberry granita.  Nice.

Total assessment, is I really did like the vibe.  The place just opened, and the menu is pretty big.  I would like to go back and check out the "million dollar" chicken and the steaks.  I heard the pork chop was fantastic.  There are probably a few highs and a few lows on the menu and will continue to be.  But, it is around the corner from me, and I believe the kinks can be worked out.  I thought the food was okay, not great, but that was just round one.