Thursday, January 25, 2007

Dining critic candidate No. 29

Delightful, Delectable, Innovative Cuisine

Colorado Springs, CO – The Blue Star Restaurant

It is hard to find a restaurant in the Springs that is open on Sunday night, and it is even harder to find one that serves good food. Without a doubt, the Blue Star maintains its credibility in my book, providing great food, great wine, good service, and a plethora of exciting new menu choices on a consistent basis. Plus on Sunday night, the restaurant offer 50% off all bottles of wine, except those on the reserve list.

The atmosphere on Sunday nights is just as busy as every other night, which tells me that what I’m writing is nothing new to Springs’ residents. For lunch or dinner, you have the option to sit in the formal dining room with its starched white linens, or in the informal cocktail bar area where you can observe an entertaining and eclectic collection of art. If you sit in the cocktail area, you are given the choice of ordering from the slightly more extravagant dining room menu, or from the bar menu. Either way, it won’t be hard for you to find something suited to your tastes. Obviously, the bar area is always noisier than the dining room, but it isn’t prohibitive to dinner conversation. The service is good in both areas, with waiters who are friendly but not intrusive, knowledgeable about all of the available selections, but often stretched thin on busy nights, so be prepared to wait a little longer for both service and food. They have a large martini and cocktail list, and an extensive wine list, as well as a resident sommelier to offer suggestions and answer any other wine-related questions you might have.

For those of you who may have been to the Blue Star but have not yet tried their flash-fried calamari with a Thai honey drizzle sauce, with cilantro and lime, I recommend that you do so immediately. As an avid calamari fan, I’ve tried my share of interesting interpretations on this standard favorite, but I tell you with no hesitation that this takes the cake. The squid arrived sizzling hot, and was luscious and crunchy all the way to the last bite without ever being oily or greasy. And the Thai sauce is likely to please both the traditional marinara fans, as well as those who are ready to try something different. Just enough lightly drizzled over the top, barely sweet and with a hint of heat, the combination was phenomenal. The lime and cilantro cut the honey slightly, and made for a burst of flavor on the tongue with each bite. Heavenly.

For dinner, the pork schnitzel with tomato parsley spaetzle and white wine shallot mushroom cream was an excellent choice. ‘Schnitzel’, the German word for ‘cutlet’, usually connotes a cutlet of meat, pork in this case, that is lightly floured, brushed with an egg wash, covered in breadcrumbs, and then briefly pan-fried. ‘Spaetzle’, German for “little sparrow”, refers to the tiny noodles or dumplings they often use as a side dish like the Americans use rice or potatoes. Traditionally, spaetzle is made with only flour, eggs, water, milk, and occasionally a little nutmeg and served with a sauce, but I truly appreciate the Blue Star’s tomato parsley spin. The schnitzel was cooked perfectly; the pork was juicy and full of flavor with a crisp, thin, buttery golden crust that gave it a fantastic crunch. The texture of the spaetzle was slightly firm and not goey and, when combined with the sauce, made for a terrific match. The flavors in this particular meal are subtle. The dry white wine, the sweet tartness of the shallots, and the earthy flavor of the mushrooms combined with the cream created a truly decadent taste and a creamy texture that clung to the schnitzel and spaetzle with each bite.

I enjoy the Blue Star because the chefs have proven to be masters of the “traditional”. In other words, because they know that they’re doing, they can afford to experiment, since innovation without real skill can lead to unappetizing dishes. The Blue Star continually brings new dishes, new flavors, and new combinations of ingredients to the table that promises not to disappoint.

For those of you who do not enjoy calamari or pork, do not be discouraged. The variety of dishes on the menus, including vegetarian, leave you with a lot from which to choose. Bring an open mind to the Blue Star, and you’ll be delighted with how much you’ll enjoy some familiar food…with a twist.

The Blue Star is highly recommended for a Flavorful Life.

The Blue Star Restaurant

1645 S Tejon Street

Colorado Springs, CO

Phone: (719) 632-1086

Dining Room Hours:

Sunday - Thursday 5:30 - 9

Friday & Saturday 5:30 - 10

Bar Hours:

Sunday 3:00 PM - 10:30 PM

Monday - Thursday 11:30 AM - 10:30 PM

Friday 11:30 AM - Midnight

Saturday 3:00 PM - Midnight

Valet parking available

Reservations for dining room via phone or email


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frankly, this article put me to sleep. There is nothing here that stands out from any of the other articles and it reads a little like a high school book report.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What restaurants in the Springs are closed on Sunday evenings?

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, I think this is a good article. clearly the author knows about food ahd the writing style is sophisticated and subtle. I want to know about the restaurant and the food they serve, I don't need flashy in-your-face writing style to hear about that. I guess 'anonymous' equates good grammar with book reports. that's sad.
And lots of good restaurants are closed on Sunday evenings in the Springs, unless you consider McDonalds to be a fine eating establishment.

9:22 AM  

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