Solid Standby

New restaurant in The Belt is the type of place to get Miller High Life and a burger or craft cocktail and sophisticated sturgeon


Where should we eat?”

It’s a seemingly innocuous question, but things can quickly devolve. Someone suggests tacos, which others reject. Someone wants pizza, while someone else is feeling more upscale. What to do? Acquiesce to the needs of the many or go Machiavellian on the group?

Now that Standby is open, friends with different tastes can all go out harmoniously. The new spot — a venture between chef Brendon Edwards and bartender Joe Robinson, along with Anthony Curis and David Goldman — is perfect for happy hour or date night.

Standby is in The Belt, a downtown alley transformed by art. And with its entrance into an old elevator shaft, it feels like a secret spot. Inside, there’s a welcoming party feel with jams like The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” and lively chatter providing the soundtrack. Seating in the cozy spot is a mix of posh banquettes and wooden chairs. 

The menus also reflect a refined yet cool casual approach. Even though the cocktail menu is longer than the food menu (for more on the libations, check out the drink recipe for Fibonacci’s Revenge) the fare is not an afterthought. On the three times I went, my companions and I decided to share several items off the eclectic and well-edited menu, which showcases Edwards’ innovation and technique in the kitchen. 

Under the appetizers, the American Takoyaki, which is a Japanese snack typically made of octopus fried in batter, caught our eye; here, it is served with hot sauce, feta, and fennel pollen. After devouring it in two minutes, we promptly ordered another one.

One dish that you shouldn’t share: the sturgeon, which is served with spinach, confit gizzard, pickled mushroom, and tea smoked crème fraiche. Edwards takes the best part of chicken — the skin — and wraps it around the “poor man’s lobster,” taking it to the next level and making it more like a succulent piece of chicken than a fish filet. 

After eating one bite, I thought: Why isn’t everything wrapped in chicken skin? Who needs bacon? Unless it’s confit bacon, which graces the cheeseburger here. Standby’s version is no mere patty slapped between two pieces of bread. With high-quality meat and cheddar, it’s worth every penny of the $14 price tag.

Desserts are worth saving room for. In a testament to the standards the team has, an early menu had a tantalizing sounding foie gras poundcake, but when we tried to order it, our server told us the dish wasn’t ready and was taken off the menu. It may make a comeback when it’s perfected, we were told, but for now the coconut cheesecake with a galangal chocolate cookie crust, pear membrillo (typically a quince paste), and mint is a solid choice.

Standby was hopping each time we went, even on a Tuesday (we also spotted a couple of local chefs at the bar). As my friends and I ate our second helping of takoyaki, we chatted about all the new restaurants in Detroit and wondered if it’s reached its saturation point. A spot like this, however, might be a new standby for many.

225 Gratiot Ave., Detroit. 313-736-5533. D daily. $18

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Here's Why Petoskey’s Bay View Resort Is Under a Magnifying Glass

The history, facts, and recent allegations against the National Landmark

Expand Your Personal Library with These 6 Titles

New and notable reads to satisfy your inner bookworm

A Zen Monk on Her Vegetarian Diet

Myungju Hillary talks spirituality, a plant-based diet, and more

These Businesses Are Planting Purpose in Metro Detroit — Through Food

Hour Detroit’s food issue explores sustainable restaurants, organizations, and more

3 Eateries that Focus on People, Profit, and the Planet

These triple bottom line businesses are part of Detroit’s FoodLab organization
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Review: Testa Barra Wows with Contemporary Dishes
    The Macomb Township restaurant serves Italian fare that is on par with the surging Detroit food...
  2. Michigan-Made, Mother Nature-Approved Tools for Your Kitchen
    Ditch disposables and opt for reusable products
  3. Exploring Metro Detroit’s Tiki Trend
    Mutiny Bar and Lost River serve up island vacations with every drink
  4. A Deeper Look into the Racial and Ethnic Tensions Dividing Metro Detroit
    From the city to the suburbs, existing segregation could be hindering the region’s progress
  5. Every Day is Throwback Thursday at This Roseville Steakhouse
    Mr. Paul's Chophouse has remained consistently delicious for more than 50 years
  6. A Look at the Inexplicable Exclusion of Detroit Tigers’ Lou Whitaker from the Baseball Hall of Fame
    Writer Michael Betzhold investigates the Major League slip-up
  7. 3 Eateries that Focus on People, Profit, and the Planet
    These triple bottom line businesses are part of Detroit’s FoodLab organization
  8. Q&A: Nancy Barr, Curator of Photography at the Detroit Institute of Arts
    Plus, information about the DIA’s upcoming exhibit, Lost & Found
  9. This Vegan Catering Company Celebrates the ‘Natural Beauty of Food’
    Plus, tips on how to create your own photo-worthy grazing board
  10. Meet the Makers: Salt Textile Studios
    This textile maker wants her creations to be unique to ‘here’