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Aug 7, 2008 11:32 PM

Starlite (San Diego)

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.

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  1. 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

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

      1. re: Josh

        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. 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

        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. 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. 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. 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

              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.