"I had always assumed that, like swimming with dolphins and visiting Sesame Place, dining at Stand fell into the category of things I could happily die without ever doing. And yet, the other evening some friends and I emerged from a nearby theatre on the cusp of 11.30 craving burgers, and Stand (open daily to midnight) beckoned.
The cavernous space is high-concept and vaguely post-industrial. We were confronted by a large circular desk thing containing a wholly superfluous maitre d', who seated us at an enormous wooden table. Various beautifully groomed, black-clad men glided around. This was all very well, but the only other patrons (on a Friday night, btw) were a table of strikingly un-fabulous NYU students, and some Japanese tourists in a corner - although it should be said that one of these was sporting a faux-hawk.
We gave a pass to the burger soup and burger salad and all ordered regular burgers and a large fries. Root beers were presented with some ceremony from the slick-looking bar at the room's center, from whence, one assumes, the various alcoholic milkshakes emerge. Having all tacitly decided to get out of here as soon as possible, no one in my party availed himself of these.
Burgers were tasty enough (although I'm on record in my dislike of brioche buns), topped with red onion, pickle, shredded lettuce, mustard and sided with homemade ketchup (helpfully supplemented by some Heinz's on the table.) Fries were hot and fresh. The homemade ketchup was controversial, tart and somewhat chunky. While no substitute for the real thing, I took a shine to this peculiar condiment and ate everyone's portion with a spoon. (But then, I eat canned tomatoes as snacks.)
Food was fine, prices were standard upmarket at about $10 a pop. But the whole experience made us giggle. It managed to feel really dated and silly, like some kind of former hotspot club from 1998. I'm sure if I lived in the area I'd succomb to takeout on a rainy night, but I certainly don't feel any need to reprise the experience."