Monday, December 23, 2013
Rate-A-Restaurant #308: Starry Kitchen
Restaurant: Starry Kitchen
Location: at the Grand Star Jazz Club: 943 Sun Mun Way (Chinatown)
Type of restaurant: Asian Fusion/Cafe
We stipulated: We've been trying to go to Starry Kitchen for years, as it moved from location to location -- but alas, it never seemed to be open when we were free to try it. Finally, the time had come this weekend. It was worth the wait.
They stipulated: It started out as an illegal restaurant operating from Nguyen and Thi Tran’s second-floor, and quickly turned into a foodie phenomenon. The Starry Kitchen crew recently moved operations to Chinatown, where they're serving dinner (or "din-dins") out of the Grand Jazz Club (which still maintains a separate bar). Also: Portions are large and served family style. And if you want to try Starry Kitchen's Singaporean Chili Crab (with buttermilk beer beignets!), call them 24 hours in advance to reserve it!
What we ordered: Crispy Tofu Balls (the appetizer that put Starry Kitchen on the map) $6.50; Malaysian Chicken Curry with Okinawan Sweet Potatoes ($14); Braised Sweet Soy Sauce Ginger Pork Belly ($15)
High point: Rich adobo style sauce with pepitas on the pork belly. And loved the spice on the Malaysian chicken curry, which was courtesy a Indonesian paste. Normally I pour Sriracha sauce all over my food, but this was such a great flavor that I didn't want to mess with it. Trust me, that's high praise coming from me.
Low point: I wish we had thought ahead and reserved the Singaporean chili crab. Next time.
Overall impression: It's everything I hoped Starry Kitchen would be. Even the weird vibe of the Grand Jazz Club lent a indie, DIY vibe to the experience. You come for the food, not for the ambience.
Will we return: There are many more menu items to try, so we will be back!