Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Note: Starlite is closed.

407 Colorado St.
Austin, Tx 78705

Tonight Laura and I ate at Starlite. Despite our gluttonous tendencies, we're also engineers, and if there's one thing engineers are known for, its being cheap. We discovered that Starlite is on Restaurant.com so we got one of their $25 coupons for $5. I love being cheap.

We had such high expectations for Starlite. We'd both heard good things. We walked into the joint and were greeted with a clean, pristine, classic interior. There was a nice bar area, white linen table clothes, and thankfully, they had frosted the window to the unsightly (but necessary) parking lot next door.

Now before I bag on food, I have to say, the service was very good. The server brought us new silverware with every course, was courteous, and even cleaned the crumbs off the table for us (but only on Laura's side, slob!). However, the managers of the restaurant deemed it necessary to make the poor guys wear these awful blue and white striped shirts that are truly a fashion tragedy for any trendy restaurant.

Also, let me say the cocktails were delicious. I had a Lithuanian Rose, which true to its name, was sweet, delicate, and well.. pink. Laura had a Pimm's Martini that was bold and flavorful. I'd never had Pimm's before and Laura informed me that it is a very British summery liqueur. I rather liked it despite the fact that it wasn't summer and unfortunately we aren't in England.

And now onto the food. The menu is spectacular. We spent literally 10 minutes perusing the delectable offerings. Everything from Wild Mushroom-Black Truffle Risotto, to Prosciutto Wrapped Atlantic Salmon. We eventually decided to go with two appetizers, a salad, and a couple of entrees.

For appetizers, Laura (a vegetarian) chose a Ripe Garden Tomato Caprese and I (the meat eater) chose a Black Angus Carpaccio. Laura said her Caprese was very good. My Carpoccio on the other hand was only ok. The ingredients were very fresh, but the flavor just wasn't what I was hoping it would be. It was rather lack-luster. The only saving grace were the flavorful parmesan shavings on top. And when the parmesan is the best thing about a dish, you know it needs a little work. For a salad we chose the Watercress Baby Mizuna Salad. Again, the greens were very fresh, but the rest of the salad was very lackluster. The dressing was so subtle you couldn't taste it, and the goat cheese on top had an off, slightly acrid flavor that didn't work on its own, but blended with the greens well. The salad was dotted with what was supposed to be roasted apples, but more closely resembled a chutney. And a very powerful chutney at that. Not a nice flavorful, but a really off putting explosion of a chutney that really didn't go with the rest of the light salad.

For dinner, Laura chose the Portabello Mushroom and Three Cheese Lasagna and I chose the Three Peppercorn Tuna Au Poivre, at the suggestion of the waiter. Laura's Lasagna came with a really delightful gnocchi that was pan seared. While not an incredible flavorful gnocchi, the pan searing added a wonderfully texture. The Lasagna was firm and tasted nice, but seemed slightly pedestrian for a restaurant of this caliber. The Tuna came with a wonderful, cheese cauliflower gratin. I could write volumes about the greatness of that gratin. It was the perfect balance of texture, and taste. Lovely comfort food. The tuna on the hand left a lot to be desired. When I order pepper crusted anything, I usually expect a nice, spicy pepper blend. Some pepper, some spice. I don't expect a totally overwhelming 3 pepper crust that is so spicy I can't enjoy the firm, plump texture of the tuna, which tasted very well without the pepper crusting. In addition, the pepper blend that was chose tasted a bit.. green.. and didn't blend well with the tuna.

Dessert wasn't anything to write home about either. We ordered the Creme Fraiche Banana Cake. I don't know what I expected, but what I got wasn't it. The cake was way too firm for a cake and the flavors just didn't blend well. I mean the cake was like a stack of communion wafers with a buttery shellac icing. The cake tasted too much of anise and banana liqueur. The blackberry sorbet was nice, but doesn't really go with a banana hockey puck.

All in all, the food was fresh, the menu had a good selection, the cocktails were out of this world, but the food.. Was disappointing.

Laura's Rating: 7.5
Mariah's Rating: 7