Photos by: Tony Bacigalupo | Article by: Amy Segreti and Tony Bacigalupo
Boulder’s known to be a place where there’s no shortage of good food, so the bar is high for a new restaurant to impress. Fortunately, Wild Standard arrived late last year with creative dishes, an alluring environment and extra-friendly service.
Just a few doors down from Bradford Heap’s other Boulder restaurant, Salt, Wild Standard stands apart in a row of great restaurants by offering up seafood (and, yes, let’s get it out of the way right now: the fish are wild caught and the produce is sustainably sourced) in a setting that begs to be picked for a special occasion.
“I’m at a really exciting stage of my career. We had the opportunity to create an innovative style of service for seafood in a great Pearl Street location,” Bradford Heap told Twine Magazine. “We are proving that delicious food is defined as seasonal, local, humane, GMO free and nutrient dense. I love the challenge of putting that passion on every plate we serve and doing it with a twist that is new to Boulder.”
The décor of the restaurant has an eclectic vibrancy that is relaxing and a visual delight with many creative uses of recycled materials throughout.
Even the 1930’s Carrera glass from the original Juanita’s has found new life, Bradford told us.
Guests are greeted tableside with trays and carts– new surprises come to the table during the entire dining experience, followed by delicious desserts.
We started off with the Kaya Toast (above), which is a must-order. We felt like we were having an affair with brunch for dinner. So wrong, yet so very right.
We then enjoyed a variety of small plates, each of which we shared between the two of us and tried not to devour too quickly lest the party be over far too soon.
Small plates can be ordered off the menu or can be ordered a la cart—and no, we didn’t spell that wrong. You can literally order items off a small cart, as you see them.
There was no shortage of flavor in anything we had; each dish had its own personality and flair.
Unsurprisingly, the Pok Pok was nom nom. Slathered in sauce and coming alongside greens and fresh herbs, this was a standout.
Seafood dishes are creatively arranged and tastefully adorned (the collards above were done wonderfully), so the flavor of the excellent fish can take center stage.
Their seafood comes primarily from Northeast which is flown in fresh daily.
“The Monterey Bay website confirms that we purchase only fish from sustainable sources,” Bradford told us. “We buy the majority of our vegetables from many local farmers. We have developed these relationships over the last 20 years. Our chicken comes from Mary’s Organic in California and pastured beef from Estancia. Our lamb also pastured at Boulder Lamb.”
For a taste of Hawaii in Boulder, in Oahu they call this (above) a Poke bowl, and it’s bliss if you’re game for a whole lot of flavorful raw tuna topped with fresh chives and garlic.
Did we mention fabulous cocktails?
On the beverage front, the restaurant employs a creative system for navigating the sometimes overwhelming world of mixology-heavy cocktail menus.
They distill (heh…) the selection process down to two basic steps: a spirit and a region of the world. Pick your favorite poison, then choose a region whose flavor profile best matches what you’re in the mood for. The bartender takes it from there.
By the time we were done with our meal, we’d already had a most gratifying date, but then we discovered the restaurant hosts an underground bar with its own name and vibe, called “Pearl Dive.”
While the restaurant is the main attraction, you need not put on your coat if you’re ready for an afterparty.
Descend with us!
The cellar cocktail bar offers a mellow yet modern, sea-faring vibe, with special attention on acoustics and an alluring sense of being hidden away from the street.
We went home feeling giggly with happy bellies. And, really, isn’t that what we want from a special date night at a swanky new spot?
Wild Standard is open for lunch, happy hour, dinner and group events—and we highly recommend it for upcoming Valentine’s Day! Find it at 1043 Pearl St.