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8 San Diego Uptown News | June 10–23, 2011


FOOD Starry Daze at Starlite


3175 India St., 92103 (Mission Hills) (619) 358-9766


Starlite


Happy Hour: 5 to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday and Saturdays; and 4 to 7 p.m., Fridays.


E


nter through Starlite’s


striking hexago- nal entranceway by day, and


Get Happy! Dr. Ink


Come On


you’ve essentially entered into night. It requires a few minutes to visually adjust to the extreme dimness within the architecturally modish design— wood planks and pin-dot light- ing—when stepping in from the sunshine.


Once your pupils dilate, a sunken bar and an ethereal chandelier made of stainless steel tubing come slowly into focus, as though you’ve stepped aboard some intergalactic mother ship. Fittingly, a decent set of non-com- mercial Bowie songs was playing when we arrived.


Unless I’m visiting with someone who’s willing to exchange a little leg squeez- ing, I prefer to ascend to the inviting rooftop patio, where the sky opens up to a second bar stocked with top-shelf liquor and craft beers, as well as plenty of seating options on high-tops and low-tops. The patio is fully staffed and smokers need not ask whether it’s permissible to light up, given the bounty of ashtrays strewn about. Happy hour deals are uncom-


plicated; wells and select drafts sell for $4, and fancy-pants cocktails are $1 off (normally $9). The latter are made


with natural fruit juices and home- made syrups, with some of the drinks served in fat copper mugs. Starlite is known for adher- ing to locally sourced foods and a frequently changing menu. During happy hour we find three different dishes priced at $5 apiece, or $8 for two. Soup of the day sells for $6. On this visit, Edible San Diego maga- zine was holding a party, which resulted in a couple of additional offerings such as grilled garlic crostini topped with fava bean hummus, feta cheese and basil oil—a wholesome departure from the cholesterol-rich fare Dr. Ink shamefully ingests at other watering holes. From the $4 taps, my drink-


ing cohort opted for Racer 5 IPA, with hops camouflaged by an orangey, malted finish. It’s a mellow, refreshing beer suited for summer patio drinking, although the more it warms, the spikier the citrus flavor. I turned to New York State,


where the creamy, Belgian-style Ommegang Rare Vos is brewed.


The hops tasted leafy and the carbonation was light. For an out-of-state import, the price was appealing and the amber ale paired swimmingly with a blue cheese-walnut tart laced with ham and bacon. With a few good beers in our bellies, exiting Starlite’s sunny patio was daunting, the pin pricks of light at ground level more dif- ficult to detect. We heard voices, but couldn’t see many faces and, like other patrons, had to resort to the beams from our cell phones to avoid bumping into walls.u


Starlite offers low-lit ambience at ground level and a sunny patio above. RATINGS:


Drinks: Say goodbye to omnipresent Budweiser and Corona and hello to life’s finer suds, such as St. Peter’s Sorgham, Chimay Blue, Ommegang Rare Vos and more than a dozen others.


Food:


The happy hour menu is succinct and changes regularly to keep up with the latest locally sourced ingredients as they’re in season. The food is clean, fresh and creatively executed.


Value: Specialty beers are reasonably


marked down to $4, although well drinks at the same price aren’t neces- sarily a thrilling price break.


Service:


Based on our rooftop patio visit, the kitchen and bar staff were plentiful, attentive and quick.


Duration:


The dark ambience of Starlite’s ground level cries for a late-night happy hour, while the sunny rooftop patio, at least during the summer months, demands that food and drink specials start a little earlier.


Private Banquet Room Available! Offsite Catering


3900 Fifth Ave. #120 Free Parking. Validation at Union Bank Building Open 7 days a week! 11am - 3am


619.220.8828 - AOL.com ZAGAT 2007, 2008, & 2009 AWARD


• San Diego Magazine • San Diego Union-Tribune • AOL City’s Best 2007 • Local Entertainment • San Diego Travel Guide • Citybeat


t • SD Home & Garden


20% off your entire meal


n SaigonOnFifth.com


Not valid on alcohol. Dine in only. Maximum 6 people per coupon. One coupon per table. Not valid on holidays or with other offers. Exp. 6-30-11


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