The Standard – Albany, NY
“Everybody makes mistakes” – Who the hell knows who first said this?
I had a really good week with my diet and exercise routine, and I didn’t want a trip to Crossgates Mall for dinner and to see Transformers: Dark of the Moon in 3D IMAX to ruin that. So we decided to have dinner at The Standard, a trendy little spot in the mall.
The Standard is a Hollywood lounge-style place that is themed around what used to be cool. Things like Frank Sinatra, The Rat Pack, Tony Bennett, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, and other such stuff. If you’ve seen the movie, Raging Bull, it’s like the club that Jake LaMotta runs once his boxing career fizzles out. It’s pretty cool if you’re into that sort of thing. I’m not.
The menu is designed to be a casual place to meet people. There are various alcoholic beverages ranging all different types of alcohol; there are all sorts of appetizers, main courses, and sandwiches.
The service was a point of unnecessary frustration. Our server approached the table quickly after we were seated. We hadn’t had a chance to even open the menus yet (I’m sensing a pattern in the area…); he didn’t go away until we told him we had no idea what the appetizers even were. The server also insisted on standing directly over me throughout this and every exchange. See, we were seated at a half booth, half table, and I pulled the short straw and got the chair. The dude was wearing way too much cologne, and sought to make me sorry for it. These are, of course, conclusions I am making based on circumstance.
Once we finally decided on what we were having, the server did one of the worst things you can do as a server: commit the order to memory and not write anything down. “Everybody makes mistakes,” so, at least if you write it down, you’re taking a precaution to avoid mistakes; this guy insisted that he got everything. Ok…
Having written this piece the night before, carpaccio was on my mind, so I ordered the Filet Mignon Carpaccio, described as “Thinly Sliced Raw Filet Mignon topped with Arugula, black olives and Coach Farms Goat Cheese and Shaved Parmesan.”
The meat was very fresh and delicious. It was perfectly seasoned and dressed with olive oil. The tossed arugula salad was good; the cook went a little heavy on the lemon juice, and, in my opinion included too much arugula. Also, the “shaved parmesan” was pretty thick. Personally, I like parmesan crumbled or very thinly shaved. These planks weren’t very palatable, but I ate what I could. The goat cheese was a little much for the dish; I think it would have been fine if they stopped at the parmesan. The occasional olive was good. This was not a bad dish at all. It was most certainly worth the price; it is difficult to tell, but there could easily be half a pound of arugula under that cheese.
For dinner, I ordered the Cobb Salad, “Chopped Salad with Chicken Breast, Avocado, Crumbled Bleu Cheese, Bacon, Tomato and Egg, Tossed in Our Vinaigrette,” because I wanted to be good, and because I never had a Cobb Salad. I ordered this with no tomato. The server did not write this down. “Everybody makes mistakes.”
The way the dish was plated was not appealing to me. It made it look like there was a lot of egg, and egg wouldn’t be my favorite part of the salad, honestly. The poshly sliced avocado on top was also a little difficult to manage with a chopped salad that could be eaten with a spoon. Everything else in the salad tasted great. Except…
“Everybody makes mistakes”
It was loaded with tomatoes.
I tried to pick out the larger chunks that were incorporated into the salad. Luckily for me, the tomatoes they used were super fresh and ripe and didn’t taste that bad. I ended up picking out about twice as many tomatoes as can be seen in the above image. While I was annoyed by this, I am not going to lay blame. We all made mistakes that day. I made the mistake of not making the server write it down; the server made the mistakes of not writing the order down, wearing too much cologne, and insisting on sneaking up on me and standing over me the whole time; the kitchen made the mistake of including tomatoes in my salad. It doesn’t matter whose fault it was; it wound up not being that bad after all (well, everything except the server standing over me with that dumb cologne.).
I was stuffed after this meal, and I didn’t even get a sandwich or any of the fried goodies they offer. (Cassie did get fried calamari, and the portion was gigantic.) I’d go back to The Standard, but I’m going to push back on the server next time, and I’m going to insist that they write down the order; at least then we would be able to lay blame wherever necessary.
But everybody makes mistakes.