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Desert Companion

Small plates, big flavor

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Sliders at Standard and Pour
Photography by Christopher Smith

Sliders at Standard and Pour

Whimsy and surprise elevate the shareable dishes at Standard and Pour — and enliven a growing Hendo food district

After the grand success of Carson Kitchen, quite possibly the most popular restaurant Downtown, the heads behind Simon Hospitality Group began writing the next chapter. Their restaurants are popping up across the continent and abroad, but Vegas remains the center of their operations.

The group’s newest offering is in Henderson, on Eastern Avenue just south of Saint Rose Parkway, in a neighborhood that is slowly gaining prominence. This might be the place that brings the solid and interesting food of the Simon Hospitality Group to a whole new market — and might even kick-start a Henderson restaurant revolution, the way Carson Kitchen did in Downtown. It’s called Standard and Pour.

Standard and Pour is a hip spot, wrapped in patios and fenestrated lounge areas, perched atop a windowless sports bar. The dining room is very chic, very refined, a far cry from the industrial strength of Carson Kitchen, but no less modern. Nothing about it seems hastily done or grabbed as an afterthought from the Restaurant Depot shelves. The overall feel is very bespoke.

The menu is all more or less shareable plates — not to say they are small, mind you — done in a family-style, easy-to-split way. Depending on what you get, three or four items can satisfy two reasonably hungry people without them getting too stuffed for dessert (more on that later).

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Quality-wise, the dishes range from “about what you’d expect” to “delightfully surprising.” They’re split into categories: vegetable-centric dishes (some vegan, almost all vegetarian), seafood and land animals. Eight items each — not a sprawling list of everything the chef could think of. This is a selection of real winners.

Kimchi tacosInspiration abounds in each category. I tried to determine what would be the most boring item on the menu, but everything has some kind of flourish. Even the sliders have a tomato jam, fontina and a crispy criss-cut potato slice. A dish that at first glance seems simple, “three beans” with house XO sauce, fish sauce and garlic, ends up being one of the most addictive items on the menu. Seriously, if you need to eat more than a pound of three mixed-heritage long beans, this is the way to do it.

Some items get downright whimsical, such as the Gravlax, which takes the cured fish and pairs a dill gel, boursin “farmer’s cheese” (in lieu of cream cheese) and pumpernickel bread. Also mind-expanding is the venison tartare: a rich, deep flavor compared to beef, contrasted well with the sweet and tangy cherry mostarda, some finely grated white-chocolate “snow” and a quail egg, along with grilled bread.

The dishes that have a distinctive Asian flair are also surprising. A kimchi taco is made of a spicy scallion pancake (a Korean staple), delectable marinated short rib and Asian pear, topped with a bit of togarashi thread. There’s a spicy shrimp in red Thai curry and sambal, but done with a ton of butter and a roux, almost like a rich, Louisiana-style etouffée. 

Standard and Pour emphasizes cocktails. Most restaurants need a good list now — to exclude one would be like not having a dessert menu. Here they have some quite lovely offerings, chief among them the Gin City: Hendricks gin, fennel honey syrup and orange blossom water, three especially floral and aromatic ingredients mixed in a balanced but refreshing way. Similarly refreshing is the mixture of Hennessy cognac, Bouchant herbal liquor and house-made vanilla-bean syrup comprising the Song Bird. Something that sets this cocktail menu apart is its large-format cocktails. Sixty-nine dollars gets you enough for six full drinks — plenty to share. Among these, the Netflix and Chill —citrus Belvedere, cranberry cocktail and blueberry purée — is particularly fun, and not just for the name.

Fruit Loops Panna Cotta

Fruit Loops Panna Cotta. Photography by Christopher Smith

The desserts are possibly the best things on Standard and Pour’s menu. There are only a few, but they're fun, refined, and well-constructed. The Fruit Loops panna cotta — lime zest, orange sorbet, raspberry gummy, and a bit of hazelnut — is perfectly Instagrammable.

Another is the wine and cheese sundae. It’s a cheesecake blondie on the bottom, topped with a merlot ice cream and brandied cherries — a sweet ending, but with more interesting flavors than the average. Perhaps the best dessert is a recipe from Chef John Courtney’s travels, the saffron rice pudding. His wife and her family are Persian, and this is a refined version of a traditional dessert, sholeh zard. Creamy basmati rice is cooked with Iranian saffron, rose water, dates and pistachio. Simple but oh so addictive, it offers both a sense of place and an understanding of a dish that’s been popular for centuries.

Standard and Pour occupies what used to be a restaurant desert. Now there is finally a restaurant that can not only become a regular spot for Henderson foodies, but one that the rest of us must visit, sooner rather than later. 

 

Standard & Pour

11261 S. Eastern Ave #200,
Henderson, NV 89052

702-629-5523

Hours

Daily 5p-12a
standardandpourlv.com

 

 

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