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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

B.E.S. and The (Standard) Living Room

Tuesday, my good friend, Shawn (a.k.a. D.J. Glitterpants), invited me to come out to Patrick Duffy's Tuesday night dinner/dance party: House of B.E.S. at B.E.S. (Boutique Eat Shop), in Chelsea. I arrived at B.E.S. just after nine and being alone, decided to have dinner at the bar.

I had already previewed the menu beforehand and remained with my decision that Italian sausage with pasta appealed to me most; there was also a pairing recommendation that I went with, which was enjoyable. (but service was less than I'm used to: I had to remind the bartender that I wanted some water and my place setting arrived only moments before my dish had)

As I sipped my glass of wine (Côte Ronnaise, I believe) I thought about how excited I was to dine, that evening, at B.E.S.; their website boasted of installations from local galleries, had a handful of breathtaking photos and claimed a "dining experience like no other... like stepping into someone's home."

But 1. their "installations" didn't impress me; they only made me think of a more high-end CB2; and 2. I did not feel like I was in "someone's home"--unless they'd lived in a renovated corner venue on a no-man's-land stretch of 11th Avenue. And as for the breathtaking impressions I'd received after viewing the photo gallery on B.E.S.' website, this, instead, was my actual impression:

A bit to be desired... (and that's the kitchen, behind the stately facade) But, I still had a tasty dish of blood sausage to await.

When my dish finally arrived, it arrived without much hurrah. And after my first taste, I thought to myself: This needs something. As miffed as I may have been, thus far, I never like being the "dissatisfied guest"--especially when dining at the bar. I patiently awaited my bartender's attention before asking him if he had any pepper [at the bar]. He turned as if to exit the bar and for a moment, I thought that there was finally going to be some rectification for this less than pleasant start to my meal. But instead of returning with a pepper mill, which I had thought he was leaving the bar to fetch, he returned, instead, with the smallest of small (and more than half empty) pepper shaker. My only hope of solace was in peppering my pasta beyond recognition.

The pepper did lend a much needed hand to the pasta and to the sauce; and the sausage (although the dish could have stood for a few additional pieces) was fine. The crostini, although tasty, was an unnecessary addition; it would have been better suited with something else. I finished my entrée and without much surprise, no dessert menu was offered by the bartender. (but he, at least, was good about keeping my glass full)

I chatted with Shawn and his mother, who was visiting from Seattle, over another glass or two of wine while I waited for my friend, Danny, to arrive. One cava and one scotch and soda later, we both left B.E.S. (alternate acronym: Better Eat Somewhere-else?) and headed south for The Standard.

As we neared The Standard's entrance, I decided I didn't want to deal with the crowd which was visibly pouring out of The Standard Grill, onto Washington Street. We instead opted for lounging in "The Living Room," adjacent the hotel lobby. I'd decided I'd done enough imbibing for one night and scrolled over the late-night menu while Danny ordered himself a Royal Standard.

I had one sip: "Too tart and dark for me..." (but it was certainly pretty-looking)

By the time our server returned with water, I'd narrowed down my decision to The Big Johnson, but first, wanted to confirm:

Me: Is the Big Johnson a hot dog?

Server: Yes--it's like, two hot dogs.

Me: I'll take that.

The dish arrived...

and was clearly not a hot dog. Adding to my confusion, as I tasted my first bite:

Me: This is cold!

Danny: Lady, that's your pickle.

(we were in a very dark corner)

The "Big Johnsons" (sausages) were fine and the fries were delicious (as they usually are there). I also especially loved the single-use condiments that were brought out prior to the dish: ketchup, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise and two cellars--one with salt and one with pepper.

After I finished the dish (with help from Danny), Danny continued with a glass of prosecco while I took a look at the dessert menu. I decided upon Baked Alaska, something I'd never had before...

The dessert was flawlessly delicious and the blueberries tasted fresh! I've definitely found a new late-night eatery...

Standard Grill, 848 Washington Street, serves late-night until 4 a.m.
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