Sunday, January 19, 2014

Stars Rooftop and Grill Room

Another newcomer to Upper King is Stars Grill Room and Rooftop Bar.  Offering a large first floor dining room, second floor function rooms and a rooftop bar, Stars has a little something for everyone.  The dining room is paneled in walnut, with high ceilings and a handcrafted walnut bar.  Stars serves not only craft beer and cocktails, but sixteen types of wine, on tap.  They will even make you a mocktail, with fresh fruit juices.
As it was barely over 30 degrees on the evening we dined there, we did not venture up to the rooftop bar, but many others did.  We arrived at 5:45pm and had our pick of tables and seats at the bar, but within an hour, the entire restaurant was full, with folks waiting to be seated….so go early for a quiet dinner, or after 7pm for a large, fun crowd.

Our choices for appetizers were the Oysters Bull's Bay and the Sweet Potato Bisque.  The oysters, served in the shell over wet salt, were baked with spinach, asiago cheese, garlic and brandy.  The flavors were blended in such a subtle way that each ingredient was tasted, but did not overpower.
The Sweet Potato Bisque, garnished with three sage-flavored marshmallows, chopped pecans and a swirl of cream fraiche, was smooth and savory.

For my main course, our server, Cory, suggested the Pan Seared Diver Scallop "Chowder", which was a deconstructed fish chowder.  My dining partner chose the Stars Grill Room Steak.
My scallops were cooked at 750 degrees, which gave them a crispy outside and a soft inside; a nice combination of textures.  They were served with sauteed mussells and roasted root vegetables, accented by a mild, sweet onion bisque.
The steak was an Angus beef shoulder tenderloin, thin sliced and so tender that you could cut it with a fork.  It was served with black truffle grits and braised mushrooms.

Our desserts, Smoked Chocolate S'mores Pie and Charleston Pluff Mud Pudding, were generously sized and delicious.  The pie was topped with a warm meringue; the cookie crust was flaky and quite good.
The pudding, a milk chocolate mousse, was topped with dark chocolate ganache, pecan toffee bark and salted caramel sauce.  The toffee was firm, buttery and crunchy; a great addition to the dish.

The meal was ably prepared, the service prompt and friendly (Thank you, Cory!) and the atmosphere lively. 
On our next visit to Stars, we will visit the rooftop bar and perhaps try a few of the small plate items - the bacon tator tots and the mushroom bruschetta looked very good. 
Our only suggestions for Stars would be to offer bread or rolls with dinner and cream, rather than milk, with the after dinner coffees.

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