After the previous nights misstep at Schiller’s I decided it should be straight back into the firing line with another untried restaurant. We were all feeling a little delicate from the previous nights cocktails so there was some added pressure involved in getting the right venue.
The Standard is a smart new hotel in Chelsea’s Meatpacking district, an area of the city I find a little off-putting. There are lots of good places to eat, good food stores (Chelsea Market), all the designer shops one could hope for and some pretty full on night clubs and bars. The problem is it feels as if everyone is trying just a little too hard to be the coolest on the block.
As with many areas that undergo gentrification the change began with some pretty extreme activities. As the meat industry slowly departed from the area the fringe began to take over. Drug dealers, prostitutes and the mafia were the main residents of the 1980’s. An underground club scene grew (if you are really interested see the wiki link at the bottom of the post) out of the areas illicit past as a playground for anyone looking for gay s&m bars or trans-sexual prostitutes. Inevitably the fringe scene slowly expanded to include hipsters, fashion crowds and eventually entrepreneurs. Unlike the earlier gentrification of Soho the artists were nowhere to be found and instead of a slow change high-end restaurants and fashion brands leapt in to take advantage of the cheap rent and gritty scene. Hence today the meatpacking district is home to high fashion, restaurants and nightclubs and all that is associated.
Back to the Standard, we arrived around 12.30pm and were offered a seat in the bar while our table was prepared. The restaurant is split into two sections, one a light and airy cafe space on the street and the other a more plush and sedate area at the back. There did not seem to be any difference menu wise, just pot luck as to where you got sat. Luckily for us we bagged a table outback in the corner banquette all soft and comfortable with leather furnishings. I would definitely recommend specifying this much more pleasant space.
The menu was the perfect tonic to a hung over Sunday, covering all the angles. There were straight up breakfast choices, eggs, french toast waffles or heartier fare with pasta dishes, salads, and mains. My first thought was how I could have comfortably spent all day going from brunch to tea and then onto dinner without wanting to move. We all started with juice having already had the caffeine hit from Pedlar. It was not an easy decision but I chose the burger. The others opted for eggs, with one a hit and the other a miss. My sisters scrambled eggs were as I have often found in NY, overcooked, too numerous (2-4eggs worth) and accompanied by cold toast and home fries (sautéed potatoes). Angela on the other hand had some very good poached eggs served with olive oil, sourdough bread and spinach. The burger was a La Freida blend so tasty as one would expect from the master mince man. It was let down a little by the bun which could not hold up to the patties juicyness, and slightly over crisped bacon, otherwise pretty good with great fries and a delicious pickle.
We ended the meal with some delicious french toast, maple syrup and strawberry compote.
Our waiter was great and helped us avoid the “just not good waffles”, he did not seem to mind that we took our time and showed no desire to leave even when we were clearly done and answered all my annoying questions including about the hotel bar on the roof which I am told has stunning views of the city.
I can only claim a return to form. In truth the food was nothing extraordinary, and had we been sat upfront in the cafe area it would have been a very different experience, but we weren’t and it ended up being the perfect brunch and a great way to forget about the previous nights mishaps.
The High Line
The Meatpacking district is also home to the High Line which is the reason we were in this neighbourhood. Here are some pictures from July 09, as it was too cold to start snapping. It’s a great spot to see the city from a different perspective and I would recommend a visit.
Wikipedia link BDSM