By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
Yet sometimes the hang comes with winces, tiny though they may be. Seared red snapper is a firm, delicate piece of fish, steeping in a broth of seafood stock, sherry vinegar, sweetened black vinegar, plum wine, mussels, tomatoes and bok choy. The bok choy was surprisingly relegated to the background, diced instead of flashing its conspicuously leafy presence. But the broth was a little shrill and too volatile for the snapper's mild exotic flavors.
Almost flaunting their pragmatism, the Standard founders installed a Sunday brunch menu riddled with breakfast standards: eggs, omelettes, Benedicts, bacon, sausage, pancakes. But it twists them. A fluffy three-egg omelette freckled with creamy goat cheese, ham, tomato, scallions and shiitake mushroom slivers is nuzzled next to a spread of greens misted with dressing perked with ginger and daikon radish, giving this diner standard an Asian breath.
Eggs Florentine was spectacular: singed muffin, hot poached egg and spinach leaves drooling a crisp--not sharp--hot hollandaise.
But what really nailed the senses was the tamarind grilled salmon blistering in a puddle of crisp cucumber, avocado and tomato relish. Salmon is rich and can stand up to a lot of tampering, especially the busy sort that yanks from several directions at once, exposing and heightening the deep flavor spectrum locked in the flakes of meat. Byres treats the fish with a tamarind barbecue sauce and then launches a campaign to tame its pungency, deploying sweet soy and caramelized sugar followed by red pepper flakes for balance. The effect is dazzling, even for a Standard.
Standard is one of those rare spots that seems to have intuitively absorbed Dallas' current nervous temperament and determined the last thing this town needs is another shallow glitter stimulant. So it provided an honest slice of tranquility that skirts dismal self-aware poses with unconsciously brilliant touches of quirk, like a bar finished with a crème brûlée and short ribs sculpted in the shape of a jewel box. That it arose among the current Deep Ellum turbulence is probably no accident. That it bypasses or exceeds traditional restaurant standards is probably more the result of playful resourcefulness than some conscious force of will.
2706 Elm St. Open for dinner 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Open for brunch 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday $$.