Tag Archives: Standard Hotel

NYC: Bubby’s & The Standard Grill

Spent the morning at 59th and Lex, also known as Bloomingdale’s. After a productive spree, I headed back to the Meat Packing District to meet up with Rob and grab lunch at Bubby’s, a short walk from our hotel, The Standard.Bubbie's 003

Bubby’s, a scratch kitchen, immediately comfy with wood tables and chairs, exposed brick,  a well stocked bar and lots of natural light, also houses an old school soda fountain. This is our chance to try an honest to goodness egg cream. They serve chocolate and vanilla. We opt for chocolate to share. An egg cream consists of chocolate syrup. soda water and milk. The drink, much lighter in texture than a milk shake and less sweet, is quite nice and refreshing. You can really taste the soda water.

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For lunch we both ordered the Portland fried chicken and biscuit sandwich, two Ommegang Witte wheat beers and sides of coleslaw, mac and cheese and baked beans. The chicken, crispy and not greasy, I find a tad salty. This sandwich is served with honey mustard and chopped mustard greens. The greens are a revelation, great texture, mildly bitter, they really complement the chicken. The biscuit is decent but a little tough on the bottom. We got a choice of two sides and opted for a third. The sides are not overly large but perfect for two to share. Coleslaw is creamy and unremarkable, baked beans are sweet, smoky and have a nice heat, mac and cheese is excellent, cheesy but not gloppy.

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Tonight, our final night in New York, we are having dinner at the highly recommended Standard Grill which is attached to our hotel. The Grill exudes old world ambiance with some art deco features. The flooring is a lovely, warm copper penny tile.

We get settled into a red leather, tufted booth and peruse the updated classic menu. Radishes and chunks of Parmesan cheese are delivered to the table.  Salty and sharp, they compliment pretty much any cocktail. Bread and butter arrive, the bread in a paper sack. They take bread seriously here and the three small baguettes are salted and perfectly chewy.

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We decide on a dozen oysters from the raw bar. I order a Jackie 60 — mezcal, Grand Marnier, agave, lime and smoked sea salt rim. Rob orders a Continental Drift — reposado tequilla, lime, agave, curried mango and smoked sea salt.  Our oysters arrive, perfectly shucked and  accompanied by a well made red wine vinegar mignonette. I swallow one sweet, briney oyster and wash it down with the mezcal cocktail. What an amazing combination!  The smokey lime cocktail is the best thing I have ever paired an oyster with. Wow. Must duplicate these flavors at home.

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For starters we are splitting the iceberg wedge salad. It arrives on two plates and I explain to the waiter that we ordered only one to share. He assures me this is one order that they shared on two plates. This would be a massive serving for one. The lettuce is chilled and perfectly crisp. It is generously but not over sauced in a buttermilk dressing and topped with crispy bacon, fried shallots, mild blue cheese and dried cherries. A truly delectable salad.

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As we sip a nice Napa cab our mains arrive, medium rare strip steaks with chimmichuri sauce. Sides are separate. We chose the creamy spinach, crisp potatoes and the One Good Pickle that Rob insisted on. Our steaks are grilled a perfect medium rare. The chimmichuri sauce is excellent but spare. I would have preferred some on the side. Rob disagrees and thinks the amount is perfect and allows the steak to shine. He is wrong as usual.

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The crisp potatoes are just that. The pickle is young. crisp, tasty and not too salty. The creamy spinach is delicious. The green taste is slightly garlicky and nicely creamy.

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Dessert is offered and the menu is interesting. I am interested in the Wake and Bake, warm chocolate cookies with milk or the rhubarb crostata. They also offer a slice of birthday cake. Very nice. Unfortunately we are too full to be tempted and finish our meal with very excellent cappuccinos served with a square of very good dark chocolate.

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The Standard Grill offers superb fare with attentive table service. The washrooms are notable. The men’s and ladies’ are separated by a see through chain curtain and may as well be together. It is easy to miss the male and female silhouettes on the floor directing you to your gender side. You come out and wash up in a trough together. There is a a single male attendant who seems to spend all his time on the ladies’ side. This is disconcerting as the stalls are open below and their is a one inch gap between the door and the side of the stall. Just weird. An experiment, I guess but it’s just wrong.



New York in Spring

April in the city. Have been trying to get to New York in the Spring for some time now but outrageous airfares have kept me grounded. Even I refuse to pay $1200 for a 57 minute flight. I want to see the Highline in spring. Have seen it once before in late fall when it was glorious with grasses and daisies, I am figuring it will be quite spectacular in spring. Ottawa is having a particularly cold spring coming off of a brutally long winter, airfares are somewhat less and so we booked late and arrived this afternoon. We left gray, drizzling Ottawa and arrived to a sunny mild day in the Big Apple, where a good many of the trees are leafed out and or in bloom. The streets and parks are alive with pedestrians and markets. Saw my first tulips of the season today.

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Traffic was hellish from LaGuardia, but it gave us time to soak up the sights. I think it took longer to get from LaGuardia to our hotel, The Standard in the Village, than it did to fly here. Seriously. Serious traffic. But we are here, the digs are quaint (except for the Arctic air in the hallways and the annoying housekeeping staff yelling up and down the halls to each other), time to unpack and find a light nosh and a cocktail. We need venture no further than the hotel lobby, to the Standard Plaza. The patio is full but we manage to find seating in the crowded lounge open to the patio. Drinks and food menu is relatively simple and that is exactly what we want after traveling a good part of the day.

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We order cocktails to start. Baha Mama and a spicy pale ale cocktail. Both are well made and refreshing. Charcuterie and a veggie plate will satisfy until our 7 pm dinner. Noshes arrive and we dig in. The charcuterie plate is simple, good quality but ordinary, consisting of prosciutto, salami, mortadella, crostini and a very nice fruit compote with lots of sweet and clove notes. The vegetable basket was a wonderful surprise. Nothing ordinary about it. Pickled fennel and cauliflower, lightly salted carrot and celery batons, meaty cerignola olives, salted and dressed radishes, perfectly sweet red and yellow grape tomatoes, toasted nuts, garlicky red pepper hummus and served with an oiled and  grilled, very thin and flaky flat bread as well as fresh herbs, tarragon, parsley, basil and mint. Great for dipping or rolling into the bread for a little sandwich. Quite simply the tastiest and most creative veggie plate I have ever had in a restaurant.

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Dinner tonight is just down the street from The Standard. Fig and Olive is a bustling place at 7pm, early for dinner by New York standards, but this is a neighbourhood place. It is a bit noisy when we come in and the place exudes a rustic sophistication with a casual vibe. Tables are set with white linens and small oil lamps which add a warm glow but actually make menu reading a possibility. The walls are open shelving which houses their wine selection. Ceiling fans and wicker shrouded lights take the space casual. Friendly staff are in the familiar black pant/white shirt getup.

Rob, not one to pass up a martini, orders their signature drink, the Dirty Martini, made with house-made brines. Our waitress warns him it is a bit earthy. This only encourages him, and she brings him a damn fine drink. For dinner we decide to share their house Fig and Olive Salad, a dish of Mixed Olives, Chicken Tangine for Rob and Chicken Provincale for moi. Tonight’s wine will be a most excellent Pinot Noir, Mateo Loring.

The salad is quite sizable and we are sharing. It is lightly dressed with olive oil and vinegar which perfectly compliments the fine ingredients. Young greens, spring onions, soft, sweet Calmyrna figs, plump walnuts, tiny black, pitted olives, slivered green apples, cherry tomatoes, creamy Gorgonzola and mild Manchego cheeses combine to make a fresh, crisp, elegant salad.

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Rob wins dinner tonight. His tagine is a marvel of flavours, with hints of harrissa and saffron. It was served with a perfect and fluffy couscous with a trio of add-ins, almonds, a mint sauce and a saffron oil.

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I chose my chicken because I love the flavours of herb de Provence, especially the lavender. I make this dish at home and it is amazing. Fig and Olive’s Chicken Provincale is moist and golden. Perfectly roasted but without the signature flavours I was expecting. It was accompanied by what I will assume is a very excellent ratatouille. I am not a fan of this French specialty but I won’t hold that against the restaurant. I don’t care for the texture or the eggplant. Roasted potatoes and a lovely, flavourful sauce of parsley mint and olive oil round out the dish.

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The olive dish we ordered as a side is gorgeous to look at. Several varieties of olive are represented. They are tossed in olive oil and oregano. A bit of orange zest and honey would have softened the flavours a bit as the oregano was a little powerful.

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We decide to share a small dessert over cappuccinos and order the Creme Brule Cheesecake with Caramelized Peaches and Olive Oil Crisp. After we order, inexplicably, the music in the place gets cranked. Conversation becomes an effort. Dessert arrives. I am impressed because it is quite small — only a few bites between us. I like this. Many may not. The cheesecake was crustless, allowing you to savour the perfectly sweet, creamy, decadent mouthful of cake. Rob disagrees and thinks cheesecake, which he doesn’t really like but ordered anyways, should have a crust. The little cake sat atop a sugared olive oil crisp which served as a crust, for a nice crunch if you took a bit of both at the same time. The carmelized peaches were delicious. As a final note, MICRO GREENS IN NO WAY BELONG ON A DESSERT.

Our extremely good cappuccinos arrived after we finished dessert, which was only an issue because at this point the music and crowd made it too loud to converse. Off into the noisy New York night. We think of visiting the club on the hotel rooftop but the allure of bed is stronger. The Highline tomorrow.