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The Standard - 14th St. DC

I just got back from my first experience at The Standard, in the old Garden District space at 14th and S. I was expecting it to be jam-packed, and I wasn't disappointed. Most of their seating is outside, but we came inside as there seemed no prayer of getting seats out there. Inside there are a few seats and a small bar. I got two beers at the bar (Hefeweizen) and we sat down in there. This place is most definitely not for people who can't stand crowds. As the weather gets warmer, this place will only get more and more crowded.

Eventually, my friend went back up to the bar to place our food order. He had to wait maybe 10-15 minutes to get the bartender's attention. Given that, the food came out sooner than I expected, maybe because we were seated inside. We ordered a pulled pork and a BBQ brisket sandwich, hush puppies and onion rings. The onion rings and hush puppies were both WONDERFUL. The large hush puppies had a very crunchy, crispy exterior, but they weren't greasy at all. The inside was almost fluffy and perfect. The onion rings were the best I've had in ages. Not only was the breading delicious, but the onions were thick and not overcooked; I really felt like there were onions in there. I'm always ordering onion rings in places and being disappointed, so this was a real find. Both were piping hot when they emerged from the kitchen. But the sandwiches...the pulled pork (served with slaw) was very good, but the brisket was much better. I LOVED this sandwich! An excellent bun, moist and perfect meat...I was in heaven. And the beer was perfect with it.

Now the bad news...the price. All of this cost about $45, which I think is a lot for two small to medium-sized sandwiches, two beers, onion rings and hushpuppies. But still...in that neighborhood, for that quality of food, I'll definitely go back. Only next time I'll try to get there about a half hour before they open to try to get a seat outside.

What a great addition to this neighborhood!

http://www.standarddc.com/menu.html

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  1. That's too much for me to spend on lunch, but it doesn't seem out of the ballpark for a busy restaurant in DC. The beers were probably around $7 each, the sandwiches $9-10 (size doesn't matter), $4 for the onion rings, $3 for the hush puppies, Add the DC tax (9% or maybe more) and you barely have room for a tip with your $45. It's why I don't go into DC for lunch.

    Unless the $45 was for each of you!

    3 Replies
    1. re: MikeR

      It was for both of us and that amount included my tip for beer ... and I'm pretty sure it included his too (for food). It's only open for lunch on the weekends, by the way.

      1. re: woodleyparkhound

        I love this place and think the prices are fair, especially in that neighborhood. Personally, I think the sandwiches are large (I guess size is relative!) and so agree on the onion rings. YUM. It has a wonderful neighborhood feel, and I hope it can succeed. Wonder what will happen in winter?

        1. re: dcandohio

          They have heaters outside, but still...

          The owners may make enough money during the summer that they can close in winter and head for warmer climes!

    2. I stumbled upon this place last week while going to pick up some items over at Cork Market. It kind of flew in under the radar but looks like a nice neighborhood addition. I was there on a Wednesday night around 6pm and it wasn't all that crowded then.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Elyssa

        Stopped by here for the first time Sat night unfortunately for me they were out of both the BBQ brisket and pulled pork. My friend and I ordered 2 burgers with a side of fries and two pints of Spatan. I really enjoyed the overall feel of the place the staff was nice and attentive the place was packed the food was good and the beer cold. Its a good hang out spot

      2. I stopped by again tonight for dinner, as I needed to confirm that I loved this place as much as I thought I had the first time. We arrived about 6:15. The place was already about 95% full (they open at 5:00. I couldn't resist ordering what I'd loved before: the brisket sandwich and onion rings. The brisket sandwich tonight seemed HUGE compared to last time. It had about 4 to 6 eight-inch-long slices of brisket on the bun. Each slice protruded several inches out the sides. I folded these slices into the center of the bun so I could manage it, making the sandwich at least 4 inches high. The meat is astonishingly melt-in-your-mouth tender, the bun is warm and soft, and the BBQ sauce was excellent. The onion rings were as good as I remembered: the best I've had in years. Honestly, I had my eyes closed and I was moaning as I was eating. This time, we also tried their homemade, piping hot, cinnamon and sugar doughnuts. Oh my God. The best I've had since Colorado Kitchen closed.

        Oh, also, they had the patio completely covered, so all the seats were in shade. On a pleasant summer evening, there is no nicer spot anywhere near.)

        I truly adore The Standard. The next time I go, I'm going to force myself to order something I haven't tried yet.

        I really encourage you to check this place out!

        http://www.standarddc.com/

        1 Reply
        1. re: woodleyparkhound

          I agree with your assessment on the onion rings, which I don't eat much - best I've ever had. I'll have to put the brisket on the list for next time. I had the pulled pork, which was very good, husband had the brat (I think that's what it was) which I thought was just OK. Loved the beer, space, and service, too. It's a neat place.

        2. Finally made it out to this place, and am kicking myself for it taking so long. I think this might be my new favorite spot in DC. Unfortunately, we had to sit inside by the cash register, but it ensured quick (and good) service. I ordered the pulled pork sandwich (had been craving one for a long time, but each place I would order one I would be utterly disappointed), my gf ordered the brisket sandwich (after some convincing - she was going to order the burger), and we split an order of fries and the corn. Both sandwiches were great, and the brisket was overflowing with meat. Tender, smoky meat (which is better than Hill Country's often salty, but still pretty good brisket). Mmmm... The corn was good, though not quite as good as the mexican corn I'd get in LA. The fries were ok, but they looked like they were going to be better. Their beers on tap were also good (mostly German). I also thought the prices were good, esp. for DC.

          This place now negates any need to ever go to Hill Country.

          1. This sounds so good. When I left DC in 1999, 14th and S would have been an absurd idea for a restaurant location, and now there are places some consider too expensive. I wish I hadn't left at times.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jay F

              So true 14th St in 1999 looked nothing like it does today

            2. Unfortunately, I can't jump on the Standard bandwagon just yet.

              I tried the pulled pork and the bbq beans. The pork was tossed in a light vinegary sauce. Although this was done with admirable restraint, the pork just didn't have enough flavor or smokiness or porky goodness to compensate. The baked beans, although nice and firm, were super duper sweet.

              Some of the other food being served looked good, so I am willing to give it another shot.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Steve

                Do you have any places that you can recommend for pulled pork? Because ever since a short stint in NC, I haven't been able to find great pulled pork.

                1. re: mdpilam

                  The Arlington Rocklands is usually very good, but sometimes only good. I haven't been to the one in DC in ages.

                  Breadline on Friday lunch only: it's no longer great like it used to be, actually a shadow of its former glory, but still better than almost any other pork sandwich I can think of.

                  For NC-style, I prefer going to Harris Teeter and getting the Brookwood Farm version. Make sure you get the NC-style and not the red sauce.

                  Not a recent rec, but the pork at Paeonian Springs Market was great when they had a place called Mighty Midget in Leesburg. Loudon County.

                  1. re: mdpilam

                    I don't think you'll find much Carolina style pork here, because we just don't care for it very much. Alkapal turned me on to a pretty decent version from the deli counter at Harris Teeter (their own brand) but that might be as close as you get. The process of roasting the pork isn't so special, it's the sauce, and for whatever region you've enjoyed barbecue, there are probably some good sauces and some bad sauces.

                    We have no barbecue tradition here in the DC area, nor is there a large community of North Carolina transplants that want to have a restaurant where they can get "home cooking." The closest we came to that was when a bunch of Congressional staffers came in with a new administration (Lee Atwater was the only one of the bunch with a name that went down in history, at least restaurant history) and got Red Hot and Blue started. They chose Memphis BBQ as their model.

                    So any BBQ that you find here is going to be an imitation of something else. Better to find something you like without comparing it to what you can't get.

                  2. re: Steve

                    Do try the brisket sandwich and the onion rings on your next visit. And if you are there on a weekend, their homemade doughnuts are heaven if you get them right out of the fryer!

                  3. I see it's closed until 3/1/12.

                    A booster of North Carolina barbecue, grill master Tad Curtz infuses his pork with apple cider vinegar, red chili flakes, black peppercorns and some of the state's hot sauce for a sting to remember. Just as transporting is bratwurst cradled with winy sauerkraut in a pillowy bun." 1801 14th St. NW. (Closed until March 1, 2012.)

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: woodleyparkhound

                      The vinegary sauce is traditional of a type of NC BBQ called Lexington BBQ, form the western part of the state. I love it because it's a bit brighter and fresher, but I do know that it throws some people off. And Woodley, I have to agree - the doughnuts are pretty much the highlight of the whole Standard experience, especially if you're there on a chilly night and they're nice and hot. I miss it!

                      1. re: katecm

                        I definitely can't wait for this to reopen. I really enjoyed going there. The fried pickles could be better, though. I'm a fried pickle fan and have yet to be impressed with any local spots for 'em.

                        1. re: Jeserf

                          My friends like the fried pickles at Wonderland Ballroom. I haven't had them though...not really my thing.

                    2. The Standard has (at least for now) a "Texas Short Rib", which is a delicious beef rib (the size of my forearm). It had a good amount of meat on the bone, and was tender and smoky with just the right amount of pull to it. You can eat it with or without sauce (I like their BBQ sauce, so I ate most of it with). I highly recommend this.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mdpilam

                        I made it back to the standard for the first time this year. The food was delicious - even better than my last time there in November, which was a little disappointing. We enjoyed the pulled pork sandwich with slaw, "dauchund in the grass," and the always delicious onion rings. Should have gotten two orders of those! I was hoping the short rib would be on the menu, but I guess we'll have to come back another time.

                      2. Finally tried this for the first time and . . . wow. The notices are right -- this place is great. Great vibe; great beer; great brisket; better-than-great onion rings. Why doesn't it get more attention on this here board? (not that I'm eager for it to be more crowded)

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Marty L.

                          The onion rings are indeed great, but the pulled pork is not interesting and the wurst is not as good as what I can get grilled in front of Heidelburg Pastry Shoppe on the weekends. It's not like there's a lot on the menu.

                          But know I'll go ahead and try the brisket sometime.

                          1. re: Marty L.

                            Yeah, this is one of my go-to places in the city. Good food and good prices. Order the beef rib if it's on the menu.

                            1. re: Marty L.

                              @Marty -"Why doesn't it get more attention on this here board?" Because too many people associate good food with having to pay an arm and a leg for an entree

                              1. re: agarnett100

                                In fairness, I don't think this Board has ever been "top"-heavy, with inordinate focus on the high-end places. The vast majority of my posts, and Steve's, and countless others over the past dozen or so years, have been about places at Standard prices or below. Deliciousness is deliciousness, at all price points!

                              2. re: Marty L.

                                Totally agree. The half chicken platter for less than $8 is delicious, fall off the bone tender and an absolute steal!

                              3. Great place. But very expensive...

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: maypo

                                  DC has become a very expensive town in recent years and the commerical leases on 14th St aren't cheap

                                  1. re: maypo

                                    You must be thinking of someplace else. Virtually everything on the menu here is under $10. One of the great things about it is how reasonable the prices are. If you eat more than $20 worth of food, you'll be very, very full.

                                    1. re: maypo

                                      You must be responding to the wrong post.

                                      The Standard is one of the few places in DC that is not expensive (or overpriced).

                                      1. re: mdpilam

                                        Well, I thought $19 for a pulled pork sandwich, fries, and a beer was a bit much....

                                        1. re: maypo

                                          $8 for sandwich, $4 for fries and $7 for beer after tax is about as affordable as you're going to get in DC for anything halfway decent.

                                          1. re: mdpilam

                                            Its not like the Standard is serving Bud and Miller Light for $7.
                                            hofbrau original lager
                                            bell's two hearted ipa
                                            weihenstephaner hefe-weissbier
                                            avery ellie's brown ale
                                            north coast scrimshaw pils
                                            kostritzer schwarzbier

                                            1. re: mdpilam

                                              I wouldn't quibble about an $8 really good BBQ sandwich (though I wouldn't go there very often for it) but I'd pass on the $4 fries and $7 beer. I'm better off without the fries and I can have a beer at home. Hopefully they don't charge for a glass of water.

                                              And then there's a couple of bucks for parking if you can find a meter, or a Metro ride. I'm still shooting for the $5 lunch, but missing more than I hit nowadays, but I only do $15 lunches when someone else is buying. ;)

                                              1. re: MikeR

                                                Its hard to get a $5 lunch from Wendy's or Taco Bell no days much less a spot on 14th St. I usually bring my lunch from home its better and healthier most of the time

                                                1. re: MikeR

                                                  they have fantastic ginger ale there - definitely get that

                                        2. Just wanted to share the mouth-watering news, in case anyone missed it. Love The Standard.

                                          http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/g...