THE STANDARD GRILL: 848 Washington Street, NY
"Trendy, clubby, hotel-set American bistro under the High Line with sidewalk tables & lively bar."
If you Google the Standard Grill, this is one of the first descriptions that will pop up. There are words in this sentence that should actively scare you and your offspring away. And I mean this in the nicest way possible. I have many a fond memories of wasting (wasting happily I might add) the day away in the beer garden and I do not ever recall needing to step over an army of strollers. That is a beautiful thing. Under normal circumstances I would think twice before marching my runny-nosed toddler into this establishment, but it was Easter Sunday and they were advertising an egg hunt and a petting zoo. HMMMMMM.... It sounded a bit far-fetched considering the location. For those who have not visited the Standard, this place resides in the Meatpacking district. An unofficial name for a part of town in Manhattan that is characterized by pretty people who wear a lot of leather, don't wash their hair (but will still always look better than you) and never seem to work. It's a special part of town that is best visited infrequently (in my opinion.) But it was Easter and my curiosity got the best of me. REALLY, THE STANDARD IS HOSTING AN EGG HUNT??
How disruptive will my kids be?
You will feel awkward. You will feel like everyone is looking at you (they probably are and it's not because they think your kid is cute.) You will regret taking your toddler inside from the moment you get settled. I felt all of these things and it was Easter Sunday for crying out loud so the kid-model ratio was unprecedentedly high I'd imagine. But you can just feel that the place isn't about catering to the toddler set. Now, I saw little babies happily snoozing about and I'm thinking this place is a better place to go when your kids are not mobile. Read: they cannot whip the ceramic dog and cat salt and pepper shakers across the bar and break the tails off.
Can I bring a stroller into the restaurant?
We did bring our stroller inside but I saw most of the strollers parked outside. We also were seated in the bar area (smart, smart hostess) so we had a lot of room. My son was uncharacteristically crabby that day so I was hoping he'd pass out in his stroller. That did not happen. Generally speaking, I would not bring a stroller inside. Maybe if the place was really empty and you had a wee one, I can't imagine anyone saying anything. But you might feel strange.
Does the restaurant cater to kids in any way?
Not really. BUT, I was genuinely impressed at how accomodating the entire staff was on Easter Sunday. I am not sure if it was a one off because of the day or if that is how it would be every Sunday. They do have highchairs, no boosters. No crayons or kid menus. They do have changing stations in the bathroom and they were happy to bring juice in a plastic up with a lid- and I didn't even ask for it.
How early does the restaurant start serving dinner?
They serve food continuously all day. On a glass half full note, the usual crowds that go here will not be dining at 5PM. So go for it.
Are there food options for allergic kids?
Not really. But we're dealing with an international hotel brand who cater to a very specific crowd. I'd imagine you would only have to ask your server and he or she would gladly accommodate.
Why? Even though we had a stellar experience and the waitstaff was excellent, this is not a place for kids. Or shall I say this is not a place for toddlers. It's a seen and be-seen kind of atmosphere and lapping the bar area with a 2-year-old doesn't fit into that equation. Also, about that Easter egg hunt...lets just say the Standard should leave that alone in the future. Just like parents with toddlers should probably leave them alone.
***If cooking Christmas dinner is making you cringe like my hubby was when I asked him to take this photo then you should read this post
Tis' the season to start amassing even more credit card debt, regret behavior at work parties and spend a dizzying amount of time feeling inadequate about your potentially tacky-looking mantle and pathetic-looking reindeer cookies (Die. Pinterest. Die.) So I thought I'd bring some Brooklynites some holiday cheer that comes in the form of a list of restaurants that are open on Christmas or Christmas Eve...and some are open on both days. Stop feeling guilty about what you're not making or beating yourself up because your table setting would make Martha's hate list. Let someone else (IE) a restaurant do all the dirty work for you...
Little Goat gets high marks for being open super early on the weekends (7 AM!), which is helpful if you have little creatures at home who arise with the sun. They also offer valet parking, which seems like an unnecessary extravagance early on a Saturday morning, until your hanger overtakes you and you scream at your husband because there are no. goddamn. parking. spots.
Swan Dive turns into the most organic playgroup you've even seen. Kids can roam free, draw with chalk, play corn hole (or just stand inappropriately on the base) and parents can drink cocktails and not worry about disrupting the neighbors (you are)...but it doesn't matter. The food is mostly meat and lets just hope your kids aren't nude shy...
OK, so this is an ice cream shop. I get it...of course it's kid-friendly. BUT, not all ice cream shops are cut from the same kid-friendly cloth. And being that 76 percent of my diet in the summer months is ice cream, it seemed my/our civic duty to review this place for the First Bites community. First off, if you live in Brooklyn (and Manhattan for that matter) you KNOW Ample Hills. Bold statements are made from people that this really is "the best ice cream in America." And being that this ice cream shop is headquartered in the artisanal capital of the universe, rest be assured Ample Hills makes from start to finish all of their ice cream flavors. But don't get too attached to a flavor because the menu is constantly changing. They keep us on our toes...and validating deep internal monologues of why we MUST go back the next day....and the day after that.
08/09/14 - For Sunday Features. Lines. Ample Hills Creamery is located at Union Street in Brooklyn. NYC August 9 2014 (photo by Christian Johnston)
They opened their first place in Queens, NY six years ago....and now they are opening up locations in Tokyo and Frankfurt. Bareburger moves fast. If I'm being totally honest, it's the sort of place I normally don't like eating at. Why? It's just all a bit too perfect. Sort of that "you're in Disneyworld" feel and the founders have spent a lot of money on consumer psychology research. But like Disneyworld, you somehow find yourself BACK in Harry Potter land and swearing to yourself that you are going to go for New Year's Eve EVERY.SINGLE. YEAR because it is THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH.
So you don't have a Shake Shack in your city? No problem! I recreated the Shake Shack burger in my kitchen and it legit tastes JUST like the real thing. Thank you @Smittenkitchen for this amazing recipe. Just because you don't live in New York, doesn't mean you can't eat like a New Yorker. And seriously....this TASTES JUST LIKE THE REAL THING!! Chalk this up to one of my life's greatest accomplishment. Sorry husband and child......
This is basically NY's version of In-N-Out except it is not. Shake Shack is a bit more urban and it stands apart in the burger arena by using a proprietary burger that’s vegetarian fed and humanely raised. Cooked-to-order burgers are topped with fresh ingredients and served on a non-GMO roll. They also make their own custard ice cream that is full of REAL sugar and the most important part of this chain....they serve ALCOHOL. Uh huh. So go ahead and order your kid cocaine that comes in the form of a brownie, custard concrete...it doesn't matter, because you will be sipping wine and all will be right in the world.
It was a day of lunching sophistication. Not even an American (me) could damper that. We headed over to Hotel du Vin, Cannizaro House. Hotel du Vin is a chain of luxury boutique hotels scattered throughout London. Olly's family lives in Wimbledon so we walked over to Cannizaro Park, a massive park that is amazing for kids to run around in (did I mention it is GRASS and NOT concrete?!), feed the ducks, look at flowers and see a mini aviary of birds. On these grounds sits the large mansion-hotel that has a windowed bistro that sits on the park grounds. Before we had lunch, we walked around, fed the ducks and tried in vain to tire out Jenson. Once we walked into the restaurant, I noticed something immediately. There were no kids except for Jenson and my 7-year-old-niece...
So this place is in the heart of Brooklyn and is a vegetarian-only, vegan, gluten-free optional restaurant. You can only wear hemp and showers are not encouraged (KIDDING.) But I do command you to stop your eye roll and Free Yo Mind! Even the most loyal of meat eaters would have a hard time saying anything bad about the food here. It is that good. If you think you could never have mac and cheese without the cheese...I dare you to try their cashew-based mac and "cheese." You won't even miss the cheese. Their gluten-free, veggie burgers are something to write home about and they start the meal with complimentary gluten-free pumpkin muffins...which are also blow-your-mind good. Oh, and portabella steaks are a thing. Did I mention that they are MASSIVELY kid-friendly?!
Calexico is a venue that started out selling their burritos and tacos out of a food truck and now have locations all over New York...but they still sell out of carts. Armed with Jenson, we popped in for some lunch at their new*ish Red Hook location before hitting the Brooklyn waterfront.