The Stand-Birmingham, MI
On Friday the husband and I checked out The Stand--the new restaurant in Birmingham. We originally made a 8pm reservation but because we got held up elsewhere we actually couldn't make it in until 9:15pm. The hostess was wonderful and still honored our reservation. We couldn't believe how hopping the place was still at that hour.
First off, this restaurant is HUGE. Still it was somehow packed. There are probably about 3-4 different areas including a bar, main dining room, wine room and private rooms (2 of which were filled). The crowd veered on the mid-20s/30s crowd at that time---well-dressed, hip, young, a little rowdier than expected. Very interesting vibe (which we liked).
The food was great! They are trying to sell this place as rustic chic but honestly there is nothing rustic about this restaurant. The chef is the same chef as Cuisine in Detroit. He is clearly classically trained and it shows in the food. These are excellently composed dishes with french technique. The menu is HUGE. Everything here is big! It took us forever to order because there were just so many choices. As an appetizer my husband ended up getting the trip of soups--lobster bisque, cream of wild mushroom and beef barley. All were excellent with the true winner likely being the lobster. I've never had a lobster bisque that was both flavorful and light---this some how captured both elements. I got the cold asparagus salad which was tasty and light---just what I wanted.
For a main course I ordered the rabbit. I love, love, love rabbit but rarely see it on menus. Our waitress said it's one of the most popular items! It's served multiple ways: a rabbit loin sliced,the rack itself and then an incredible duck sausage. The sauce, the sides everything was perfect. This was a perfectly composed dish that made sense and tasting wonderfully. My husband got the sturgeon with the fois gras and tomato ravioli. The fish was cooked perfectly and the foie gras was delicious (not sure if I got the tomato though). His dish tasted great but it seemed like 2 separate dishes.
The only real disappointment of the night was the desserts. They looked beautiful but disappointed in taste. I got a cake dish that was served in a mason jar and was supposed to have layers of different fruit fillings but really all I got was the passionfruit waaaay at the bottom. My husband got a chocolate dish with banana ice cream. He said it was so-so.
There is so much to choose from at The Stand that we can't wait to go back---although we'll probably skip dessert next time and just order an extra cocktail :)
Nice write up. Yes, The Stand is quite a place inside, and it was packed when I visited, too. The investors must be breathing a sigh of relief. I don’t know whether the little meat curing room is for gimmick or for real work, but it was an interesting touch, either way.
I would characterize The Stand as pure (new) Birmingham--- spendy-clothed clientele (however well-educated or productive) and expensive menu pricing, but at least good (<—that’s the relatively new aspect from just a few years ago).
The servers were surprisingly nice as well. I expected professional, and they were, but the genuine pleasantness was a surprise.
For budgetary reasons I ate in the bar. Note—a cheeseburger and fries costs $19+t&t ($10 for patty, $3 for cheese and $6+ for fries). It was good. Not memorable. Decent beer list and decent ratio of women to men in the bar, for those who may wonder.
PS—for anyone considering the “soup trio sampler,” be aware that the little bowls are glued together and therefore cannot be too readily shared.
I find it odd that this is the *second time* they're doing this: pouring a TON of money into the place. Zazio's wasn't exactly a cheapie deal, either, and it certainly didn't last long.
Still, it sounds too see-and-be-seen-and-pay-dearly-for-the-privilege for my tastes. Then again, you all *know* how frugal I am.
From what I've been told this sounds really different than Zazio's. Zazio's seemed to be some sort of odd Kitchen Stadium type thing where food as theater was taken to the extreme and the food wasn't all that good.
The Stand on the other hand has delicious food. There is no theater---just a nice place to gather with friends to enjoy a large menu and drinks. There might be a scene there but I didn't feel the food suffered for it. I also was there at 9pm on a Friday night---you might get more of that type of crowd at that hour.