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Help us choose where to use our Starr gift card

So, we got a $150 gift card for any Starr restaurant. We'll mostly likely be just two people for dinner (though it's not like we have to spend exactly $150 in exactly one meal).

We’ve eaten at a bunch of the Starr places, and a few don’t tempt us.

Eaten at: Morimoto, Parc, Jones, Alma de Cuba, Continental mid-town, Pod (pretty much in that order of preference);
Not interested in: Barclay Prime, Butcher and Singer (we’re not big on beef/steak houses)

That still leaves a bunch of options. Leaning El Vez, but curious what other suggestions people have.
-Charles

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  1. I would consider:

    1. Il Pittore (italian chef driven restaurant)
    2. Talulah's Garden (especially in the spring.. new american food, very good food service.. from the folks that brought you Talulah's Table)
    3. Fette Sau (bbq .. but if you are not big meat eaters not probably best)
    4. Pizzaria Stella.

    I would go to El Rey over El Vez.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cwdonald

      I agree with your 1-2 in some order. Pittore & Talula's provided 2 of my favorite meals of 2012. Neither is cheap, but on a gift card that's not so relevant.

      I have only been to El Rey once, and haven't been to El Vez in years, but I agree with El Rey over El Vez in a landslide.

      And Ranstead Room is a lot of fun. If you aren't big eaters, and enjoy a cocktail, then splitting the GC into Ranstead and then dinner may be a great option.

    2. Frankly? Why pick second best? If you love Morimoto and Parc -- flip a coin and enjoy really good dining instead of considering a lesser experience.

      3 Replies
      1. re: arepo

        we've been to Morimoto a bunch of times at this point, and it's *much* more expensive than most of the other options. We'd go back to Parc, but also want to try some new stuff.

        The other Starr place we went to and really liked was the place that's now gone. Tangerine, maybe? The place on South street.

        1. re: Bob Loblaw

          Tangerine was on Market St. I agree on skipping El Vez, it's just not good. I like El Rey but wouldn't blow a free dinner there, it's not expensive or unique and the atmosphere is ultra-casual.

          Stick with cwdonald's recs + Dandelion, though Stella doesn't do much for me (I think Nomad and Zavino are better, and the same concept). I really like the drinks at Ranstead Room too.

          1. re: barryg

            the funny thing is that while picturing Market, I wrote South. Yes, Tangerine on Market.

      2. My current favorite of his places is Dandelion, though I haven't been to Il Pittore or Fette Sau. I agree that El Rey is better than El Vez.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Buckethead

          Oh good call Buckethead on Dandelion... I like their pork belly there, the fish and chips are good as is the hamburger. And if you are a fan of sticky toffee pudding, they make a good version there. If you really like roast beef and yorkshire pudding they do a good one there but only serve it on Sundays and bank Holidays (like MLK or Presidents Day).

        2. can anyone explain the El Rey v. El Vez preferences? I've never eaten at either. I have eaten at (and liked) distrito.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bob Loblaw

            First is ambience.. El Vez is louder, had gimicks like table side guacamole, I find El Rey to be quieter, food is simpler, but really is good. Think Starr meets Taqueiria. And you have the Ranstead room right next door for some nice cocktails.

          2. ugh, skip El Vez. Definitely the worst of the Starr's I think (at least the ones I've been to). The food reminds me of Mexican Post.