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Jun 24, 2008 12:37 AM

Stephen Starr Gift Card

Such choices! I received a $200 gift card to any Stephen Starr restaurant from some special people last night. When I read the names I knew I needed your help to choose--we've been to none! If it were just me, I'd pick Morimoto, but my husband doesn't "do" much fish in any form, so maybe that wouldn't be a good choice. Or would it?

Given that I love fish, but hubby doesn't; neither of us drink alcohol, which of these Starr places do you think we'd most enjoy: Tangerine, Alma de Cuba, Barclay Prime, Striped Bass, or Morimoto? What should we expect from each, in summer, 2008?

EAgerly anticipating your reply!

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  1. If you both enjoy great steak then Barclay Prime is a good choice. Also, consider Buddakan. They have a wide range of Asian influenced food and really fun desserts.

    1. I would vote for Barclay Prime, hands down, if you plan on using the whole amount in one night. Even without alcohol, you can certainly spend $200 there and their steaks, apps, and sides are great. You could also spread it out over two nights with a stop at Buddakan and Alma de Cuba. You might go over a little bit, but again, without alcohol, you would be close.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Decker

        That is something that didn't occur to me--that because we don't drink, the price points would be such that we might use this card for two different Starr places, and have two unusual dining experiences we might not have otherwise.

        Can you give me an idea of what to expect at Alma de Cuba. Tangerine, or even El Vez? My husband isn't a huge meat eater either--I'm not sure either of us would truly appreciate BArclay Prime. We are adventuresome, other than not getting into super-spicy for me.

        OUr priorities would be for great, invovative food, interesting atmosphere, but not at the price of being extremely noisy. We would be prepared to eat early in order to reduce the noise factor.

        This is all new territory for me, but I knew we could depend upon fellow Chowhounds.

        The Starr-virgins will report on their experiences of course!

        1. re: Bashful3

          I am a vegetarian and don't do fish, so if I might be an indication of what your husband would enjoy, I'd suggest Morimoto's and El Vez. Morimoto's has a few vegetarian dishes, including a tofu dish that's made tableside that's absolutely lovely. You'll definitely have a much easier time there than he will, but if he knows what to expect going in I think he'll do fine. They also have some of the best desserts in the city, imo.

          I really like El Vez, although I'm kind of in the minority in that group on this board. Good guacamoles (a number of different kinds to choose from), a few vegetarian entrees, excellent sides (don't skip the corn on the cob), and my favorite margaritas in the city (blood orange).

          The Continental and Jones are also pretty casual, and I've enjoyed a few meals there as well.

          (Eat early at all of these places if you want a quieter atmosphere -- all can get pretty noisy, excepting Morimoto's.)

          1. re: spyturtle008

            If you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary, I'd do El Vez or Buddakan. When you take alcohol out of the pricing mix, that means you could probably get 2 very nice dinners for two out of that gift card. OR you could go with another non-drinking couple -adventuous meals are always more fun with 4 or more. More opportunities to get differnt dishes & share!

            I really liked Alma de Cuba, but must admit that I was heavily influenced by the mojitos. Barclay Prine is wonderful, but doesn't have enough pizazz for me if I'm doing something special. Jones & Continental are too "ordinary". I need that touch of funkiness too!

            1. re: spyturtle008

              i am right with you on the guac. you can't not love it. best guac in the neighborhood.

              not being drinkers - el vez might be more annoying than fun. to me, it's pretty drink-centric (thus the elaborate bar in the center). plus a $200 card would likely be three dinners there, not one!

              tangerine is gorgeous but i've only been for drinks.

              i would go for buddakan. i have not been in awhile, but the edamame ravioli - so good. upstairs is quieter than down.

              actually, i changed my mind - if it were me, personally, i'd hold out for parc. it's supposed to open on the 13th of july.

            2. re: Bashful3

              El Vez is really just OK - from the drinks to the food. I wouldn't recommend. Also Stripped Bass will be closed.
              It might be nice to check out Parc when it opens.

              I would probably recommend The Continental, Barclay Prime, Buddakan and Alma de Cuba right now, although so many more are opening this year.

          2. I love Alma De Cuba.....alot. I vote for them.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Gorp512

              I like them as well.My last visit they had no problem with us ordering a couple courses of appetizers and starters and salads and no entrees. Better yet, when it became obvious our eyes had a larger appetite than our stomachs, they cancelled our last course mid way through what then became our last course!

            2. If you're willing to wait a few weeks, you may wish to consider Parc, Starr's latest offering on Rittenhouse Square.

              1. Park sounds interesting, Boogniah. What do you know about it? Yes, we could wait a couple of weeks. Easily.