Thursday, November 11, 2010

The High Line and the Standard Grill - NYC

The Standard Hotel & High Line
When I did finally manage to peel myself away from the Ace Hotel, I headed straight to the first stop on my itinerary - the High Line and Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking district on the west side of town. I had hoped and planned to get there earlier - then go to Pearl Oyster Bar for a lobster roll - but by the time I arrived it was already 2 PM.
The Standard Hotel & High Line
Happily, my taxi dropped me off right in front of the Standard Grill, so I just decided to duck in there for a solo lunch. There is quite a contrast between the modern architecture of the Standard (the top photo was my view, looking up, when I stepped out of the cab) and the London-pub like appearance of the grill - but it works. The Standard Biergarten is just next door.
The Standard Hotel & High Line
The dining area is divided into two sections, a large main room with clubby booths and a floor tiled entirely with pennies, and a bright, sunny bistro-style bar - with copper-topped cafe tables and black bentwood chairs.
The Standard Hotel & High Line
The one-page menu offers salumi (some carved from a leg of prosciutto prominently displayed on the bar), oysters and several upscale bistro standards - including a burger, moules frites, pastrami on rye, a chopped salad and a turkey club sandwich "served on Balthazar white." This made me wonder if I was in Keith McNally territory, but the restaurant is run by Andre Balazs, owner of the Standard hotel chain. I was happy to see a lobster roll on the menu, since that was what I'd planned to eat all along. The service from the bartender was a bit surly - she asked for a credit card to open a tab, as if I might dine and dash - and my wine had been open a bit too long and was served too cold in a strange short, round glass, but those problems seemed less important when my lunch arrived.
The Standard Hotel & High Line
It looks a little small in the photo, but it was really just right. It was also absolutely delicious. The warm bun had been split and grilled, and the sweet, tender lobster meat tossed with a rich, lemony mayonnaise dressing. A few sprigs of micro-arugula provided a little zing. The accompanying frites were crisp and hot, and I was a little amused by the fact that it was the second time in twenty-four hours I'd been served fries in exactly that same copper cup (they use them at the Breslin too.)
The Standard Hotel & High Line
The Standard Grill serves all day - breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and late night. Based on my experience I'd go back - but of course, I can really only speak to lunch, and only one dish at that. If you're looking for a more in-depth analysis, check out Adam Platt's review. The communal chocolate mousse dessert sounds a little gross to me, but the cocktail menu looked interesting - and I am not surprised to hear the kitchen knows its way around a steak and some duck fat-fried potatoes.
The Standard Hotel & High Line
After lunch I popped over to the lobby of the hotel, which was decorated in a retro-modern style. It was tres chic, but there wasn't much to see beyond the tiny lobby and a cocktail bar, so I walked out the door and headed south about half a block, to the starting point of the High Line Park.
The Standard Hotel & High Line
The High Line is a lovely promenade-like park, constructed on old elevated railway track running up the west side of Manhattan. It starts right next to the hotel and runs through the Chelsea/Meatpacking district area - for now at least. It's only about 1/3 finished at this point - the yellow portion on the sign is open, the rest is still under construction.
The Standard Hotel & High Line
The rooms of the Standard Hotel are housed in a building that sits over the High Line - you walk right under it.
The Standard Hotel & High Line
The boardwalk-like walkways are lined with modern and naturalistic plantings - lots of grasses, and other hardy greenery and shrubs.
The Standard Hotel & High Line
With the Standard hotel looming above, the innovative architecture of the gardens and paths, and several interactive and engaging sculptures and art projects along the way, the park has sort of a living museum feel. It's hugely popular with both residents and tourists. At least two bus tour groups were visiting while I was there, and the stream of visitors and strollers on the paths was constant. There was even a short line to view the art piece below.
The Standard Hotel & High Line
It was cold and windy enough that I was ecstatic to happen on this little stand set up by Tom Colicchio's "Colicchio & Sons" restaurant (just west of the park) selling hot chocolate, coffee and some steam table soups and stews. I was frankly shocked there was no line. Maybe New Yorkers are just used to that kind of chill.
The Standard Hotel & High Line
The hot chocolate was $4.50 and worth every penny. It was a simple formula of cream, milk, sugar and chocolate, but it was perfectly balanced and hit the spot. The gentleman behind the counter told me the pastry chef at the restaurant makes it fresh from scratch every morning.
The Standard Hotel & High Line
After strolling up a ways, I turned back, and then took the middle staircase down to the shopping area below. The area surrounding the Standard is chock-a-block with boutiques like Scoop, Stella McCartney, Hugo Boss and Diane Von Furstenberg. I snapped this photo looking up 14th street as I was crossing the street, and I think it's one of my favorites from the trip.
The Standard Hotel & High Line
That night, a friend of mine came into town for the weekend and we went to the Minetta Tavern for dinner. I mention this in an off-hand way, because I won't be writing a full post about it. It was quite a scene and the room was fabulous (though packed wall to wall on a Friday night ) but our food was underwhelming. The Black Label Burger did not live up to the hype, I'm afraid. Ordered medium rare, it came out nearly raw with ordinary accompaniments - bun, fries, etc. There was just nothing special about it, and it paled by comparison to my lamb burger at the Breslin the night before. Our favorite dish was a salad of roasted pumpkin wedges with curly endive, a sharp vinaigrette and toasted pumpkin seeds - but that's something you could easily make at home. Going was a fun experience if only for the clubby vibe and vintage room. I'm not sorry we tried it, but I won't be rushing back. There are just too many great places to eat in NYC, and always too little time.

The Standard Grill
848 Washington Street
New York, NY 10014-1308
(212) 645-4100
Menus

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you had a great time in The Big Apple. The Lobster Roll and the fries look amazing. Last time I was in NYC - about 2.5 years ago I had the most outrageous crab cakes at the Marquis Marriott overlooking Times Square. And an iconic, only in NY pastrami sandwich at Carnegie deli.

    I always love the energy of going to New York. It's a great time even if you're simply walking down the street or looking out the windows in a deli watching all the people passing on their way to work or wherever they're all heading so purposefully. Of course I'm always

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