Restaurant: The Stand Restaurant and Comedy Club – 239 Third Avenue, Manhattan, New York
Within New York City some of the best restaurants and food are often disguised down dark alleys, in basement restaurants or in backrooms behind storefronts. Fitting the bill, is The Stand Restaurant and Comedy Club.
I was recently invited to check out The Stand and they had to roll me out of the place. Chef Seth Levine has taken your usual pre-comedy show menu to the next level with unique dishes such as Cheeseburger Dumplings, Peking Duck Pizzette and more.
Upstairs from The Stand comedy club (street level) sits an unassuming, dimly lit restaurant. Upon entering, ceiling to floor glass provides you with two options – head downstairs to check out some comedy or grab a bite to eat at the restaurant. If you pick the latter, you’ve made a good choice. The interior of the restaurant is simple, but within this simplicity there is a lot of character. As you walk in, a bar lines the right side of the restaurant and long horizontal mirrors hang from the walls to give off the appearance of a larger space. That being said, the restaurant isn’t small by any means. It comfortably holds more than 15 tables lining the walls. A dark copper colored tin ceiling adds a nice touch to wrap it all together. Looking around, you’d never know you were above a comedy club, except for the comedians scattered among some tables working thorough jokes.
Before we dive into food, first things first, drinks! The Stand gets mixology right. We tried a few of The Stand’s signature cocktails and they were all delicious. The highlight was the Slow Poke Rodriguez. (Extra points if you can name who this drink is named after. Hint: it’s a Looney Tunes character.) After taking a sip I saw why the name was appropriate. Initially, I was greeted with a sweetness that soon gave way to the bite of tequila, it just took a little while for it to get there.
For food, we were treated to a number of dishes:
- Cheeseburger Dumplings: pan-fried dumplings stuffed with ground sirloin and grated cheddar cheese, served with a house dipping sauce
- Truffle Mac n’ Cheese
- Peking Duck Pizzette: thin crust personal size pizza, sliced pan seared duck breast, plum sauce, cilantro, cucumber, scallions, crumbled goat cheese
- Steak Sandwich: grilled hanger steak topped with gorgonzola and sautéed onions on our toasted famous Stand pretzel bread, waffle fries
- Salted Caramel Pretzel Bread Pudding: The Stand’s famous pretzel bread soaked & baked in a caramel cream, topped with a caramel drizzle and pretzel salt.
The Cheeseburger Dumplings come out four to a plate. The crust reminded me of an egg roll and was much crispier and tastier than that of your usual dumpling which can be flimsy. Ground meat and cheese exploded into my mouth with each bite. There was extra cheese on the side which was perfect for dipping and had a little bit of spiciness to it. All in all, a very crispy and great appetizer to start the meal.
The Truffle Mac n’ Cheese was probably my least favorite dish of the night. I thought it was a little bland and was missing something – what that something was I’m not sure. It was also a little bit too watery for my liking.
The Peking Duck Pizzette was a personal size pizza loaded with toppings. LOTS of duck was piled high with plenty of cucumbers and goat cheese scattered throughout. With all these toppings, I expected this pizza to be heavy but I was surprised at how light it actually was. The cucumber was refreshing and this was the perfect summer pizza.
The Steak Sandwich came out cooked perfectly medium rare. This sandwich was big with lots of sauteed onions and blue cheese. I’ve never had a steak sandwich with blue cheese before so this was something different that made this sandwich stand out from others. The blue cheese flavor was evident in every bite. All this was sandwiched on The Stand’s pretzel bread. This pretzel bread is all over the menu so they’re clearly proud of it. It was very thick and added a lot more than a regular roll would. Sitting next to the sandwich were the best waffle fries I’ve ever had. I can’t describe how incredible these waffle fries were. They were a perfect golden color and very crunchy. Hat tip to The Stand for these fries.
The Salted Caramel Pretzel Bread Pudding came out warm and was melt in your mouth good. Bread pudding is delicious to start. Make it out of pretzel bread and you’ve got yourself one hell of a dessert.
The food was only rivaled by the service. Our server, Graham, was one of the best waiters I’ve ever had. As soon as he came to our table he was immediately joking around and clearly wanted to make sure we had a good time. Whether it was pushing more drinks on us (in a good way) or proactively selling us on The Stand’s brunch, Graham clearly enjoyed his job.
The Cheeseburger Dumplings were $13, the Truffle Mac n’ Cheese was $9, our entrees were between $17-$19 and dessert was $8. For the service, quality of food and quantity, The Stand gives diners a great overall value.
Kim and I rolled out of The Stand with a huge smile on our faces, not thanks to the comedy, but because of the delicious feast we consumed. If The Stand’s restaurant is this good, I can’t wait to check out its comedy club. I’ll be back soon for that and you better believe I’ll be grabbing a bite to eat beforehand.
*This meal was provided free, courtesy of The Stand.