It's a bummer to have a bad meal. Especially since working in kitchens, I have gained a glimpse through the veil into the sheer amount of effort, determination and back-breaking grit it takes to keep one running smoothly.
Our brunch at The Standard Pour in Uptown was a frustrating and heartbreaking one that I desperately wish I could overlook.
We arrived and were seated inside the main dining area at a long table, where a large couch acted as seating on one side. The three of us unlucky enough to score couch seating were immediately greeted by the world’s saddest piece of furniture. The opposite seats engulfed us, sinking us far below dining table height, where unshielded springs desperately pushed against our backsides in a futile attempt to keep our butts from hitting the floor.
I'm not a particularly lightweight person, so I tried swapping for someone whom gravity is a bit kinder to – but they had the same result. We were relocated to the covered patio where seating was much better, and the sound of live music could waft in without choking out our conversation.
The Standard Pour’s brunch menu reaches its arms delicately outside of the usual fare in a few instances, while keeping a firm grasp on the comfortable and familiar. Items such as prosciutto and melon spring rolls ($11) and the shrimp Benedict with poblano hollandaise ($18) are prime examples of this. The party I dined with decided to span the whole menu, ordering a bit of everything.
The first to indicate something wrong was given to us in the form of cinnamon buns ($10). A miniature cast iron skillet with two cinnamon rolls baked up against one another arrived with blackened edges and a watery vanilla glaze.
Our initial bites surprised us though, as even with the charred bun’s edges, the interior was slimy and raw. Before I continue: I am a huge fan of gooey cinnamon buns, but slightly undercooked and completely raw are two vastly different edges of the cooked spectrum. This would have made Gordon Ramsay’s heart flutter.
We politely informed our waitress, who had the offending bun whisked back to be replaced with another. But the second attempt wasn’t much better. The interior was slightly more cooked at the cost of the outside edges being completely carbonized black and stone hard. We didn’t ask for a third attempt, and instead opted for another carafe of sparkling wine and juice to prepare for the road ahead.
Unfortunately the remainder of our meal followed somewhat the same trajectory. The chicken and waffle had a decent yeasty and sweet waffle unto which a slab of fried chicken was placed ($16). The fried chicken was around 90% breading, which after wrestling and cracking through its surface like some kind of unholy geode, we found a wafer-thin slice of chicken breast. The breading was fine on its own, but the sheer amount of it was astonishing and sogged down the remaining waffle with grease.
The hangover sandwich was fine. Reminiscent of Eggslut’s Hawaiian breakfast sandwich, the Standard Pour’s version uses the same kind of sweet roll filled with scrambled egg, ham, cheddar cheese and Sriracha mayo. The combination is of course fantastic as it crushes the salty-sweet-savory palate, we just wish the buns weren’t once again charred black.
We ordered two plates of steak and eggs, both steaks at medium-rare and both eggs over easy ($25). One plate had a perfectly cooked egg with what I would call a very, very well-done steak. The other plate had a perfectly cooked steak with an egg cooked solid throughout. In total we had one complete steak and eggs cooked to our order. We once again informed our waitress, who very understandingly flew back into the kitchen to return with a new steak, and a new egg. The final dish with its robust chimichurri sauce was delicious, though, if that can help muster some points.
The egg white omelet itself was tasty, having a delicate texture with bright tomato and feta being offset by succulently cooked spinach ($16). It would have been fine had it arrived alone on the plate. It came with a side salad so drenched in dressing it glistened sickeningly under the lights above and lasted about one millisecond before giving up the ghost and pooling across the plate — and sadly, under the omelete.
Lastly, the breakfast burger ($16). If I were at a restaurant where every other dish was fine, I would consider this burger a C+, maybe a B-. It was fairly dry, and the exterior of the meat patty was heavily salted, but otherwise OK. The egg was cooked well, and the whole ensemble meshed well. In this instance, though, the breakfast burger would have been graded on a curve, as all the other dishes were so lackluster that this middle-of-the-road burger seemed like a guiding lighthouse on the jagged and foggy shores of Flavor Town.
An airplane crash doesn’t occur because of one mistake. It happens because a chain of events, all of which have to be overlooked, line up in such a way that hundreds of engineers, technicians and staff couldn’t possibly predict. In much the same way, most restaurants are built like airplanes.
Redundancies are set in place to ensure each guest gets an adequate and safe dining experience. One poor experience isn't necessarily indicative of an establishment as a whole, but is jarring nonetheless. While our experience at The Standard Pour was mitigated by the help of wonderful and understanding staff, it takes a cohesive team from start to finish to make a meal a positive experience.
This was not that.
2900 McKinney Ave. (Uptown). 214-935-1370. Brunch served 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
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