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Paul Hargrove, the new chef at The Standard Grill, on what cooking means to him

The chef also gives Restaurant Hospitality his view on where the industry stands

The Standard Grill — with a kitchen once helmed by TV chef Rocco DiSpirito — rests beneath New York City’s High Line, the once rusted elevated subway line that’s since been turned into a glowing park filled with tourists. The inside of the restaurant is a shimmering white, contrasted by the raw bar that greets you when you walk into the cozy French-inspired space.

This restaurant, however, has a new chef at the helm and it’s ready for a makeover.

Paul Hargrove took over as executive chef over a month ago and has already made some changes to the vibe of the storied restaurant.

“I view us as a chophouse but perhaps a bit more playful or naughty,” Hargrove told Restaurant Hospitality.

He continued: “The core of the grill’s menu are familiar things; oysters, shrimp cocktail, grilled fish, chops, steaks, etc. However, I’m a very playful person with the food I want the guest to have fun, so I pull from my experiences to try and make things unique to the Standard Grill.”

Some dishes include Honeynut Squash Risotto, Swordfish Schnitzel, Million Dollar Chicken, and Pork & Pickled Pepper Sausage.

Hargrove’s favorite ingredients are the DPNP Pasta, used in the Bucatini Puttanesca and Confit Tuna, and The Meat Hook Sausages, used in the Pork & Pickled Pepper Sausage with Lemony Bitter Greens.

His favorite cocktail is the Meatpacking Manhattan, named for the restaurant’s neighborhood and consisting of Rye, Bacon, Amaro, Vermouth and Chocolate Bitters, because he “loves the burning pine.” 

Hargrove is inspired by “the people who make up the industry, the community it provides to so many people who need it,” he said. “At its best, a restaurant can be the family you choose to have for those who really need one. That’s who I cook for. I work for the people who work with me. I wake up every day and go in for them, we have a job to do — doing the job together inspires me.”

It’s not just about food for Hargrove, it’s about the entirety of the restaurant industry pulling together during hard times.

“It’s for family, the communal nature of dining and being together that we are losing more and more of every day,” he said. “Restaurants are important and not because of any economical factor it provides, for me it’s always been my home. A safe place to find people like me. I’m inspired to try and create a place for people so that it can be for them what it was for me.”

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