1 Crossgates Mall Road
Albany, New York
Bus: CDTA 10, 12, 114, 117, 155, 190, 712, 719, 813
Visit: March 26, 2014
2013 was a breakthrough year for Mr. Lew’s Great Burger Search. During that calendar year, I had the chance to go to our neighbors to the south to eat more burgers than ever before. I wasn’t about to let 2014 go without more opportunities of that variety. For the first time since last May, this search finds itself across the border in the capital of New York state at The Standard.
Since the month of June, I’ve known that I would be heading to Philadelphia for our yearly school trip. I had the opportunity to see the trip planning process from the beginning and I was anxiously counting down the days until we were set to hit the road. The road to Philadelphia is long, so a stop in Albany helped ease that pressure a bit. In a few weeks, I’ll share the highlights of the visit. For now, I’ll focus on the burgers that made up the trip.
We left Montréal a little behind schedule, but luckily, we were able to make it relatively on time to Crossgates Mall to eat. Well, mostly everyone ate something. When you’re taking 47 students across state lines and into a mall, some are bound to spend their money instead of taking care of their dietary needs. We all know that shopping wasn’t my main concern, eating was. I would love to tell you more about Crossgates Mall, but I never really got past the entrance. It may have been a coincidence, but we were deposited exactly where I needed to be and that was at The Standard.
The main issue that I had to contend with was the amount of time set for this visit. Normally, I have more than enough time to eat my burger in peace, but here, the clock was ticking. We were set to make it to an appointment at the capital building and they don’t really like it when you’re late. I had about 40 minutes to order and eat a burger, all hopefully without getting to try it in the opposite direction.
Since the restaurant doesn’t open until eleven, I had to wait a few minutes. The second the hour changed, I pounced on the door and was quickly seated in the momentarily empty restaurant. The server was quick to get me what I wanted to drink and the order was placed rather quickly. The service was rather prompt for the most part until a little later on.
As I was waiting for my order, I noticed a few individuals coming in. There weren’t very many of them, but they represented a group of 25 people. That was a good sign for The Standard, but for me, it wasn’t so much. The server who was assigned to me was also responsible for that large group. The only time where it was a real factor was the tail end of the meal. I asked for additional water to compliment my exhausted supply of lemonade. Since I was nearing my deadline, I was never able to get that water. It’s not really anyone’s fault, but I felt a little left behind at that particular moment. Either way, I can’t really complain about the service I did get.
Chop House Cheeseburger ($12)
This burger contains grilled red onions, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and bacon. You’ll notice that I replaced the customary side dish with a side of mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes weren’t half bad and considering the fact that there was another burger coming in less than 12 hours, they were the sanest choice.
The thing I want to note is the fact that I was asked how I wanted the burger to be done. I have now completed 11 American burgers in sit down restaurants and every single time I ordered, I was given the choice of temperature. The makes all the difference in the total experience. This time around, taking into consideration the time factor, went the medium rare route. The restaurant nailed it and the small pool of juices confirmed that.
The aesthetic quality of the burger was quite apparent. The size of the burger was also something that caught my attention. I think all of my burgers on this trip were quite huge, which just says something about the American diet. Before taking a bite, I was really pleased to see the lettuce under the juicy meat. While I got that puddle, the bottom bun never collapsed.
After taking my first bite of the burger, there was one thing that bothered me somewhat. The grilled red onions provided me with quite the challenge. I never put in more effort chewing them than any other element I ever had on any other burger. After a while, pulling the onions out was more productive than trying to fight them.
The rest of the burger really hit the spot. The combination of cheese and thick bacon really complimented the requested temperature. The size of the burger may have been another issue, but only if I was someone who didn’t have an appetite. The ingredients were kept simple and that’s usually what works the best.
The Standard strikes me as that somewhat upscale restaurant that attaches itself to every big mall. The food that I was served was more than acceptable and I have enough time to rejoin my group without having to rush. While the service lagged at the end of my visit, the burger more than made up for that.