The Standard Grill, Meatpacking District, New York

Under the High Line, one of the seven wonders of New York City, where peace and tranquility mix with rare greenery on a former raised platform railway converted to a unique public park, lies a restaurant of some repute.  A place that, although set amongst meatpacking factories, has thoughtfully empathised with, and even beaten a path for other trendy venues to raise the Standard of this eponymously named district of New York City.  And yet a “Grill” that has remarkably few items on the menu that might ever see a char broiler.   For example, I had oysters followed by shrimp fettuccini.  Although I use the word ‘followed’ in a loose literal sense, or perhaps as its own antonym since the main courses arrived before the starters. This was one of a number of service fiascos we experienced when lunching there on the last day of a New York trip.

The wine served was a very acceptable Sancerre with a whoosh of gooseberry, and citrussy notes.  But it wasn’t the one we ordered.

Fred, who has an allergy to tomatoes, ordered the Chicken Paillard with rocket, without the little red beasts.  On first delivery this simple request was complied with.   However when the second delivery was attempted (just after the starter plates were eventually cleared), red mist in Fred’s eyes matched the colour of the salad.

Despite the service issues, I have to say I still liked the place very much.   Table 12 is a dangerously cosy booth that you should ask for if you are a twosome or a ménage a trois.  The vibe is very New York Village bistro and I saw numerous lookalikes from Sex and the City.  The prices are remarkably reasonable, especially the wine list which has many bottles in the 30 something range, where most higher end NYC pads start at 50 plus and quickly accelerate away from the mere common man.

Of course I didn’t, but I could have easily kept the lunch bill for two to less than $100 including tax and service and wine.  At this price, Standard Grill compares itself to village bistros like The Smith, rather than high end dining places like Scalini Fedeli, to name two places we sampled on the same trip, and this is a good position to take.

Whilst I complained about the quality of service, I only refer to the execution.   Visually pulchritudinous from interior design to eating irons, smart male servers wore plaid waist coats and young female waitresses had matching skirts with schoolgirl style long socks.  Add a decent stab at a macchiato and a handful of good dessert wines, and it makes for a very pleasant place to while away an afternoon.

And if you eat too much, a quick stroll along the oasis of calm bustle that is the High Line will work it off.

The Standard Grill
848 Washington St at 13th St,
Meatpacking District
New York
T: +1 212 645 4100

2 Responses to “The Standard Grill, Meatpacking District, New York”

  1. Peter May Says:

    Seems perverse for a winelover to go to a winegrowing region and order a wine from 3,000 miles away. There are some superb NY state white wines, some grown just a 100 miles from where you dined.

    Also when there are “young female waiters had matching skirts with schoolgirl style long socks” how come all we got was a photo of a skyscraper and the back of a taxi? 🙂

  2. Alastair Bathgate Says:

    Hi Peter

    One tries to keep this blog from becoming completely depraved 😉

    As for NY wines, I had promised to visit Finger Lakes winery but turns out it is 4 hours by car from the city so just didn’t have time this time. And my experience of NYC restaurants is that they stock very few New York State wines, indeed, The Standand Grill does not list a single one and less than 10% of all its wines are even from the US. I think they should stock many more US wines full stop (well, period, if you must).
    The majority of New Yorkers seem to like European wine.

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