Standard & Pour
Pool Boy – Don Q Rum, Don Q Cocoa Rum, Blue Curacao, Pineapple
Man Candy – Belvedere Peach Vodka, Sweet Heat Syrup, Moscato
Song Bird – Hennessy Cognac, Bouchant, Vanilla Bean Syrup
Gin City – Hendricks Gin, Fennel Honey Syrup, Orange Blossom Water
Garden Tomato – Stracciatella, Watermelon Radish, Thai Basil
Salt & Pepper Fries – Basil Mayo, Horseradish Mustard, Smoked Ketchup
Carrot Risotto – Black Truffle, Artichoke Heart, Aged Pecorino
Scallop Crudo – Ruby Red Grapefruit, Avocado, Bagna Cauda
Crispy Oysters – Sriracha Egg Salad, Smoked Trout Roe
Calamari – Mixed Peppers, Cilantro, Pesto Aioli
Tongue & Cheek Agnolotti – Red Wine Demi, Peppercorn Cream
Venison Tartare – Cherry Moustarda, White Chocolate, Quail Egg
Meatballs – House Ricotta, Sunday Gravy
Snail Wellington – Prosciutto, Duxelle, Parmesan, Garlic Cream
Date & Bleu Cheese Jam – Buttered Almond, Bacon Bread
Mac & Cheese – Cheddar, Fontina, Havarti, Port Wine
Coffee – Lavazza
Saffron Rice Pudding – Pomegranate, Rose Water, Date, Pistachio
Wine & Cheese Sundae – Cheesecake Blondie, Merlot Ice Cream, Brandied Cherry
Lost Bread – Cinnamon Roll, Maple Icing, Toasted Pecan
Fortunate enough to have already seen the space by way of Friends & Family, it was with five of the former that Simon Hospitality Group’s Standard & Pour was officially welcomed to the neighborhood on Saturday night at 5:30, Chefs Harwell and Courtney both working the line for a room that was full to capacity by just past 6:15.
Promised from its conception to be a gorgeous room, the old Firefly re-imagined as a flowing space with florals and varied lighting used to impart a sexy yet approachable feel, visitors to S&P will immediately be struck by the lounge and balcony area offering a great vantage of The Strip and mountains situated Westward while the bar and dining room equally beckon to the right of the entryway, doors held open by smiling hostesses with another young woman confirming reservations at a small podium.
Greeting pals at the bar before an official welcome by General Manager Ed Tracy and AGM Chelsea Anderson, it was after brief chatter that the group was led to hemisected Oak table suited for large groups with good lighting, full views of the bar as well as the pass an added benefit, though a soundtrack best described as “EDM-Elevator Music” unfortunately bumps along too loud undermining not only the room’s attractiveness but also drowning out descriptions of many of plates presented.
Focused on variety, a total of fifteen dishes plus four cocktails providing a plentiful meal for the group without anyone getting *too* full, the night began with a $70 Large Format drink served neon-blue in a glass decanter, a purported serving for “six or more” far better suited for at least ten considering the size and alcohol volume, though the combination of Blue Curacao and Pineapple make the drink sweet and smooth for lightweights – the sort of thing that might get one into trouble if not weary of repeated pours.
Further impressed by the herbaceous Gin City and easy-drinking Song Bird while the humorously titled Man Candy gently stoked a fire behind sweet Stone Fruit, tasting got underway with a refreshing Tomato Salad that matched stretchy Stracciatella to bitter Radishes through bright Pesto followed by Salt & Pepper Fries that are fine, though a touch too “Mina-esque” considering the trio of accoutrements, a far greater bit of inspiration offered by way of the radiant Carrot Risotto that sees tender grains of Rice upgraded by way of Artichoke Hearts and Aged Pecorino amidst the aromatics of preserved Black Truffles.
A lighter menu than that of Carson Kitchen, the next three plates offering inspired looks at gifts from the sea, one would be hard pressed to select a favorite amidst the Scallop Crudo, fried Oysters or Rice Flour tossed Calamari, the former offering a clean balance of acid and natural sweetness while the others paired crisp seafood with a touch of heat, though not enough to overwhelm the subtleties.
Getting heavier as the meal progressed, no dish richer than the meaty Tongue & Cheek Agnolotti that sees elongated pasta packets presented beneath Peppercorn Cream and reduced Red Wine, house Meatballs are upgraded from simple bar-bites by way of spicy Sunday Gravy while the finely chopped raw Venison is a spotlight stealing plate that speaks of a kitchen willing to take some chances, the flavor deep and complex whether eaten by the forkful with Cherry Moustarda and White Chocolate or spread on Toast as intended.
Offered a few more plates before moving onto sugary things, another trio seemingly the only way to go, Snail Wellington unfortunately proved to be the meal’s low point as Harwell’s admirable attempt to make exotic foods more accessible saw the Mollusk get lost amidst Prosciutto and Mushrooms, the Port-Wine Cheeseball inspiration for S&P’s Mac & Cheese a smile-inducing riff on the polarizing holiday classic while the Date & Bleu Cheese Jam pays homage to Firefly’s Devils on Horseback by way of Carson Kitchen’s signature spread with particularly dazzling effects.
Turning attention to desserts, three of the four options available on this night, suffice it to say that I may have had something to do with Chef Harwell’s decision to put Rice Pudding on the Menu based on a dining recommendation while in Paris, the Mediterranean result an interesting riff that could just as easily serve as a savory mid-course while the Pain Perdu and Sundae each also offer more than just sweetness, the former awash with Cinnamon but unfortunately a bit dry in some parts while the beautifully composed later seems destined to be one of the dishes that Standard & Pour will be known for.
FOUR STARS: Rare to visit a restaurant in its first week, but in this case making an exception due to travel constraints and being too eager to wait, Standard & Pour shows Harwell and company already executing at a very high level, a few small tweaks and an improvement in the music all that the place needs in order to be truly great.
RECOMMENDED: Venison Tartare, Date & Bleu Cheese, Carrot Risotto, Scallop Crudo, Calamari, Wine & Cheese Sundae are all not just “recommended,” but truly excellent on a city-wide Scale.
AVOID: Salt & Pepper Fries and Meatballs are fine, but available anywhere, while the Snails are unfortunately overwhelmed by the pork. Bread Pudding would benefit from either a longer soak in the Custard or an additional sidecar of Icing.
TIP: Open at 4pm daily, complimentary valet and reservations by Opentable.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.