One reason I drag myself out of bed on Monday mornings is to read The Strong Buzz, Andrea Strong's weekly e-letter. Last week she reviewed Stand, a new burger joint off of Union Square, and Jon and I eagerly walked over for dinner on Friday -- the place was bustling with that end-of-week electricity. Stand is modern and comfortable with high ceilings, a small bar up front, and an open kitchen in the back.
We started with the pot of pickles, which included tastebud awakening sours and half dones, plus pickled beets, baby carrots, pearl onions, and string beans. They reminded me of Rick's Picks' pickles.Our burgers, which Stand says it grinds daily and automatically prepares medium-rare unless a customer asks otherwise, were charred well done on the outside but (thankfully) exactly med-rare on the inside. All burgers, except the mini burger, are 7 oz. with a fat-to-lean ratio around 30/70. For me, 7 oz. is a more than perfect amount of meat, especially when those ounces are as good, juicy, and fresh as these. The buns are made on Long Island City at Pain d'Avignon, and were way above average in taste and texture -- they did a good job of absorbing the juice and condiments!
Jon ordered the classic with cheddar and homemade ketchup, which had a deep tomato flavor and some zing. I had the mushroom burger with onion marmalade and shredded lettuce. The shrooms were juicy and sauteed jus' right. Instead of ketchup, mine came with a porcini mushroom sauce, which I completely forgot about post-order. After it arrived, I kept tasting it and wondering what kind of delicious, rich mustard/mayo concoction I was dipping my fries in, until finally I asked the server and then my palate embarrassedly recognized that it was mushroom, not mustard. The fries were cut long and not too wide, and though they were saltier than I like, had that much sought after balance of crisp on the outside/soft on the inside.
I'm curious about the Burger Soup, which the menu describes as beef, onion, seasonal veggies, beef broth, and cheddar, and I plan to return soon for what might be the best thing about Stand: their beverages. Milkshakes come in cool flavors like Toasted Marshmallow and Apple Pie. Floats include Dandelion & Burdock Soda w/ Banana Ice Cream and Cel-Ray Soda w/ Strawberry Ice Cream. They also have homemade ginger ale, and a U-bet Chocolate Egg Cream w/ Fresh Soda. I heard the bartender say that the beautiful blue soda bottles resting on the bar are over 70 years old. There are also alcoholic shakes, and a great selection of cocktails, beers and wine. For once, Jon and I both had restraint on all of the above, though we each admitted regretting it on our walk home. There's always next time, which could be as soon as tomorrow.
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This NYTimes article about Oscar swag mentions a human taffy pull. I never!
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On a food for literary thought note, I'm deep into Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessel. It's one of those books that was written for the likes of me. It's very Quirky. She's got a mishmash Style all her own, one that is reminiscent of the Wordplay and Mindfulness in I Know Someone is Waiting for Me Somewhere by Anna Gavalda with some of the Mystery and Intrigue of The Secret History by Donna Tartt slinking across the North Carolina accented pages.