The much-anticipated Standard Foods opened this past October after months of delays. I’d been meaning to try three-times James Beard nominee Scott Crawford’s new venture (along with business partner John Holmes) but I dilly-dallied until I read in March that the much-acclaimed chef was leaving.
That was just the kind of horrific news I needed to get myself over to Raleigh. Here’s the banner headline: Crawford’s cooking, what I’d call Cali-Dixie, greatly exceeds his already remarkable reputation, established most recently at Herons.
My advice: Even before you read the rest of this piece, make a reservation now because Crawford is leaving for parts unknown in early May.
No hyperbole: Our entire experience was sublime. From the moment we talked in the door, we felt at home. The host greeted my husband and me as though we were old friends, giving us a little tour of the restaurant (which also includes a butcher shop and a small market featuring local products), and then left us at the bar for a pre-prandial cocktail. Soon enough, we were off to our table in what’s been called a “rustic-chic” dining room that seems to hum along in perfect harmony.
OK, back to the food: Words cannot do justice to it. Not the charred leek tagliatelle or the rabbit agnolotti (with bacon broth!).Not the just-picked asparagus salad. For my entrée I chose the tenderloin beef, which practically melted in my mouth (the cornbread puree was also sublime). We also had the roast chicken with sausage, apples, ramps, and kale. Again, perfection in a cast iron skillet. As for desserts, which change frequently, pray for Crystal to stay.
Yes, in fact there is a word for what Crawford’s doing: it’s called “magic.”