HOME > Chowhound > California >
What's your latest food quest?
TELL US

Starlite (San Diego)

Josh Aug 7, 2008 11:32 PM

I have been seeing this on the top lists of a lot of people on here, so I finally went down to check it out tonight. In a word: wow. I was very impressed, by a number of things:

- The menu of creative cocktails. Reminiscent of Modus or George's, lots of tasty-looking choices here. The beer list, while short on locals, is still very good. I had one called a Galapagos, with pisco, black pepper syrup, lime, grapefruit, and kaffir lime leaf, garnished with brandied cherries. It was as good as it sounds. My g/f's Starlite Sling was also not too shabby.

- Lots of organic items. Produce from People's, Brandt beef, Jidori chicken, bread from Con Pane.

- Cheese plate. Generous quantity of four top notch cheeses (sorry, do not remember the names), honeycomb, pickled raisins (!), and raisin hazelnut bread.

- The chicken was perfectly cooked, and very juicy. The bacon jus was amazing.

- Reasonable prices. Dinner for two, with appetizer and drinks, came in at $75. For this quality I felt it was really good value. I've had similar kinds of meals elsewhere, for more money, and wound up eating something else later in the evening. That was not the case here.

I foresee many more meals at Starlite.

  1. kare_raisu Aug 7, 2008 11:40 PM

    Damn that cheese plate alone seems to value a trip alone! honeycomb, pickled raisins!

    They are not carrying any local peruvian chocolates for dessert, are they?? :^)

    2 Replies
    1. re: kare_raisu
      Josh Aug 8, 2008 12:01 AM

      Heh, no I didn't see any. The cheese plate was delicious, especially paired with the Chimay red.

      1. re: Josh
        foodiechick Aug 8, 2008 01:18 AM

        Glad to read that you found Starlite (literally and figuratively - I swear the first time we looked for it we passed it and had to circle around a couple of times) a welcome oasis. We love the atmosphere and really admire their use of top-notch ingredients. It is our go-to stop when Chuck is returning from a business trip and I have to make an airport run. Makes a mundane trip down the highway a destination to anticipate.

    2. d
      DougOLis Aug 8, 2008 08:49 AM

      Pickled raisins? How does that work? Does it become like a grape again?

      Thanks for the review; guess I'll have to check it out now. What kind of food in general do they serve?

      1 Reply
      1. re: DougOLis
        Josh Aug 8, 2008 08:57 AM

        They were golden raisins, pickled in vinegar with pickling spices. They were sweet and sour, more plump than a regular raisin but pretty far from being a grape. Went really well with the cheeses, as did the honeycomb.

        Not sure how to describe the food really, kind of like comfort/supper club fare, but modernized and with little twists that set it apart. Their website has a menu from May. The menu we saw wasn't that different, but a few things were.

        They had the ubiquitous flat iron steak, burger w/ gruyere and caramelized onion, a vegetarian entree, a fish entree, and the aforementioned chicken.

        Some interesting bar snack/appetizer items, too. One thing that's pretty cool about the place is the interior is really nicely designed, but the dress is super casual. I was in shorts and flip-flops and did not feel at all out of place, as one of the owners was wandering around in t-shirt and jeans.

        The cocktails all sounded intriguing. I could see eventually sampling all of them, they all sounded really good.

      2. m
        MrKrispy Aug 8, 2008 09:32 AM

        Glad to see you finally made it! We have been going almost since it opened and have always had a great time. They just had their 1st Anniversary and they had a bunch of small dishes for $5 and they were damn tasty.

        The first thing I ever tried there was the cheese plate too, pretty much kept me coming back haha.

        1. Shannon Aug 8, 2008 09:57 AM

          I am taking out-of-town friends to Starlite tonight. I had read about it here, emailed them the Starlite webpage link, and they got all hot and bothered about it. We will definitely try the cheese plate!

          I was thinking about bringing an old Cab with me but it sounds like this not be the right kind of place for that...

          1. p
            pickypicky Aug 8, 2008 10:22 AM

            Yes! This is exactly what I mean by a real SD restaurant-- the food, the execution, the beautiful futuristic-sun/inspired-moderne design-- even the street appeal (ooops. freeway appeal). That wonderful Alice-rabbithole entrance. Starlight and its food is the real deal. Authentic and beautiful. Honest, hype-free. The cheese plate alone proves it. Thank you, Josh, for this post!

            1 Reply
            1. re: pickypicky
              e
              encinitaseater Aug 8, 2008 12:43 PM

              This is funny. Steve Poltz of the Rugburns was on the KGB morning show this morning and he mentioned that he and a biz partner opened this place last year. I came to see if it was being talked about on here, and voila, chowhound never lets me down! If I recall, he said he loves the cheeseburger. If the food is as fun and entertaining as Poltz, I'll be sold.

            2. SaltyRaisins Aug 8, 2008 05:40 PM

              Anything in support of Starlight is great- I've never been let down by the food or service and I've eaten there plenty. Super important to me is the unsanctimonious attitude paired with great ingredients and Starlight has both.

              kare_raisu mentioned the wok hei flavor of octopus that was missing at Los Arcos- I can recommend the Starlight rendition (not a CIA tactic) highly- no plate sauce, but they are young cephalopod tentacles quickly grilled after a wine-and-spice overnight soak. Umai!

              1. j
                jennywenny Aug 10, 2008 08:55 PM

                Thanks for the reminder, I've been meaning to check it out for ages. We went on saturday and had a great time. The cocktails were brilliant, inventive and tasty, the decor was amazing, and theFood was delicious too.

                We really enjoyed the fried plate (tempura veggies, falafel and almond dip), sausage plate, olives and pistachios. We then had steak and I had a delicious salad with the buttermilk dressing.

                The deserts werent that great, we tried the mixed berry cobbler and ice cream sandwich. The cobbler was ok, and the sandwich was insanely sweet. I figure their menu is seasonal, so hopefully they will have a different selection next time we're back.

                I think we'll be back often!!

                Show Hidden Posts