September 9, 2013

Dine Out Maine: It's well worth the drive to refuel at Standard Gastropub

By SHONNA MILLIKEN HUMPHREY

(Continued from page 1)

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Standard Gastropub in Bridgton is basically food served in a gas station. While the Mac and Cheese and Garlicky Greens get high marks, the wings win “best in show.”

Photos by John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Standard Gastropub in Bridgton is basically food served in a gas station.

DINING REVIEW

STANDARD GASTROPUB, 233 Main St., Bridgton. 647-4100; standardgastropub.com

HOURS: 6 a.m. to midnight Monday to Thursday; 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday; 8 a.m. to midnight Sunday

****1/2

PRICE RANGE: $2 to $18, with the majority of items in the $6 to $8 range.

BAR: Beer and wine, with a particularly impressive selection of beer

CREDIT CARDS: Yes

VEGETARIAN: Yes

RESERVATIONS: No

KIDS: Kid's menu

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes

BOTTOM LINE: Pin Standard Gastropub to the Google map and plan to stop here for fuel and a snack when arriving in (or passing through) Bridgton. Although the retro-hipster gastro vibe is a little incongruous for the downtown area, the space works, the price is right and the service is super-friendly. Amidst other staid and standard menus, the not-so-Standard Gastropub food stands out among its peers -- it is finely prepared and quite tasty. Bonus points for competitive gas prices and heroic hours of operation.

Ratings follow this scale and take into consideration food, atmosphere, service and value:

*Poor  **Fair  ***Good ****Excellent *****Extraordinary.

The Maine Sunday Telegram visits an establishment twice if the first dining experience was unsatisfactory. The reviewer dines anonymously.

The best, my absolute hands-down favorite, and a reason to make the drive? The Mac and Cheese ($6) and Garlicky Greens ($4). Both served in Mason jars, the former was fresh orecchiette coated in a thick, rich, creamy cheese sauce and garnished with fresh dill. The latter was local rainbow chard delicately sauteed in olive oil and a massive amount of fresh garlic -- so simple, but so perfect. Between alternating bites of the two, a new level of food happiness began, and I could have easily licked both of the jars.

On the Special roster were Elote ($4.50) and Steak Frites ($18). The 8-ounce marinated flank steak with fresh cut fries was the night's splurge, but it was well worth the investment. The fries were thin and crispy, the steak packed with flavor, and the pickled onion garnish was a nice bonus. Together, the combo tasted delicious. Add any of the house-made sauces -- curry ketchup, wasabi mayo, Dijon horseradish or roasted garlic aoli, and the meal moves from delicious to sublime.

Elote -- such a fancy phrase for the humble corn cob, was grilled with Mexican spices and coated with cotija cheese, served with a side salad garnish of lettuce, pickled onions, and more cotija cheese. It was so tasty I ordered two.

The Grilled Iceberg Wedge ($8.50), a wedge of grilled lettuce with a drizzle of homemade blue cheese dressing, handful of bacon crumbles and topped with fried onions, was crisp and tangy in all the right places.

Wings ($5) won the table's "best in show" though. Like the Mac and Cheese and Garlicky Greens, it is worth the drive to Bridgton for these wings. From brined to smoked to finished with sauce, these wings involve 18 hours of loving preparation. At four for $5, with a handful of carrots, there is zero gristle and zero gumminess. These wings are the real deal -- packed with power, and so delicious, we kept ordering more. (Note: I was a fan of the Cajun lime, but the honey sriracha is fantastic, too.)

Standard Gastropub is a cool spot. It's not really a pub though, and joint doesn't quite do it justice. Restaurant is too formal, and snack bar can't begin to describe the level of food quality. It's just ... food in a gas station.

Go. You'll see.

Bonus points for competitive gas prices.

Shonna Milliken Humphrey is a Maine freelance writer and author of the novel "Show Me Good Land."

 

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