Starbelly is my foodie buddy Heather's choice. I didn't know much about Starbelly except that if Heather had chosen it, then I am in good hands.
Walking in, I was immediately impressed. Starbelly is a cute, bright and airy neighborhood restaurant in the Castro. A long wooden bar that also serves as the communal table is the focal point of this eatery; along with the display of wine bottles neatly stocked up in the contemporary wooden cabinets on the wall by the bar.
I caught a glimpse of al fresco dining at the pretty wooden patio in the back. Heather and I opted to seat at the casual 2-4 seater table with metal chairs in the main dining area.
The whole place has a casual and cheery feel to it. Service was friendly and very efficient. As soon as we sat down we were given a choice between regular or complimentary bubbly water. We chose the bubbly, nice touch!
Once again, Heather and I ordered family-style to be able to enjoy and "critique" each dish.
1. CRAB LOUIE SALAD: Since it is the very beginning of the crab season in San Francisco, we thought it was best to try this dish. And we were rewarded with big chunks of sweet Dungeness crab meat on fresh lettuce wedge and not overpowering dressing. Divine!
2.SQUASH THIN CRUST PIZZA WITH GOAT CHEESE AND PEPITAS: I love pumpkins and squash but I was not so sure about them on pizza. At first bite this pizza put away all my worries. I thought that squash, goat cheese and pepitas on pizza would be a brave culinary attempt that could easily fail but this was a well executed dish. The result was a harmony of earthy fall flavors on a thin crust. The pizza was nicely grilled and slightly charred (but not burnt) in the wood-fire oven. A delicious autumn dish!
3. FRIES WITH 3 DIPS: Uneven cut fries. Nicely salted. Nice fillers.
The dishes at Starbelly are seasonal. The chef makes use of fresh ingredients. They are most delicious in their simplicity but combinations of flavors are amazing and refreshing on the palate.
Once again, Heather and I had a wonderful "girl-bonding" lunch in the City in the midst of our very busy work day. Starbelly is highly recommended for such diversions.
Tab: $42.00 including tax, $1.99 Health SF Fee and 20% tip. ($21 per girl)
FOODIE GIRL'S RATING: 4.5 Stars for simple, seasonal yet delicious food.
0 Star: Never again!!! These people should not be in business.
1 Star: Chalk it to bad experience. Live and learn.
2 Stars: Very disappointing but there it has some good things to offer.
3 Stars: It is okay but do not expect much. I will still return.
4 Stars: I like it! I will be singing your praises!
5 Stars: I will be dreaming of you at night!
6 Stars: Perfection (or close to!)