The new Standard (formally Standard 2076) opened Tuesday last week without much fanfare. This notwithstanding, the place was packed Friday night with valet lines backing up to Cedar Springs. Opened in the former long time Martini Ranch (and short lived Stolik) space on the corner of Cedar Spring and Fairmount, Standard moved lock, stock, and saucepans from its Deep Ellum location. The menu is essentially the same as is the chef, Tim Byres.
The location, however, has been spruced up somewhat, including the kitchen, which has been expanded to accommodate the increased food output. Also, the bar, which used to run across one side of the downstairs wall, has been removed for increased seating space and old booths have been replaced with tables. However, there are still only about 16 tables on the ground floor, and maybe 10 or so on the upper level with the only bar now being upstairs. Mezzanine fans will be glad to know that you can still walk up the front stairs and down the back and that the bathrooms remain in same place (though re-fitted). The space has been refinished in classic white with clusters of landscape, floral, and other abstract paintings by artist Michael Thompson. Because Ferre, Cru, and Steel, share the same management, Steel alumn Chuck Kneeland worked the room, with Mark, the maitre d', who is formally from York Street.
If you've never been to Standard, they like to do things a little differently there. For example, sesame seed lavosh-style flat bread, served tucked in a folded black napkin, doubles as table bread. The menu, however, contains gems like thick, double-cut lamb chops with "stained glass" potato (basically, a thin slice of potato with herbs made a resemble a stained glass window), as well as fish like salmon and trout--the fish selection changing weekly. Whatever you do, do not miss the desserts, especially the fresh baked Madeleines served with house made vanilla-bean ice cream and caramel sauce. The three oven-hot, little cake-like cookies, served with just a hint of powdered sugar were amazingly fresh. In the hands of a lesser chef, this dish could have ended up doughy and undercooked, but pastry chef Katy Hastings produced a remarkably well balanced result with just the right texture and enough almond flavor without overpowering the dish. The rich, cool, vanilla-bean ice cream provided a perfect contrast to the warm Madeleines.
Final verdict: Two spatulas up!