Friday, January 26, 2007

Dining critic candidate No. 43

Restaurant Review - The Blue Star

Being new to Colorado Springs, I was pleasantly surprised to find a restaurant the caliber of The Blue Star my first week here. The restaurant is one minute west on Tejon off the Tejon-Nevada exit on I-25, easy to find, and with ample parking once you arrive. Valet parking is available Thursday to Saturday evenings.

As soon as we walked into the restaurant, a pleasant hostess immediately met us and gave us our choice of tables. Though there is a formal dining room (which seems less popular), we decided to sit in the bar area, which is very quaint and has comfortable booths and many tables to choose from. The atmosphere is quiet and romantic, lighting is dim, and music is quietly playing in the background. Within 30 seconds, Jennifer, one of the waitresses, brought us some white bean hummus and some crusty bread. Although the bread was a little dry, the hummus more than made up for it with a spectacular olive oil and pungent pepper as a base. Snacking on the hummus as we looked at the menu and the wine list, we made our selections for dinner. I was so impressed with not only the magnitude of the wine list, but the quality of the wine glasses. They are not the normal chintzy small glasses many restaurants use, but have large, gorgeous bowls so that you can easily smell the nose of the wine and appreciate the taste.

The menu changes every month, however there are certain selections that remain on the menu consistently, such as the salmon and flank steak. One can order from either the less expensive bar menu or from the somewhat pricier dining room menu selections. The wine list is one of the best, if not the best, in Colorado Springs. On Sundays, the wines are half price, and on Mondays, martinis are half price. We started out our dinner with a crab cake appetizer which was outstanding. Being from Maryland, I didn’t think anyone locally could compete with Maryland crab cakes, but James Davis, the executive chef at the Blue Star, has nailed this dish. The cakes were moist with all jumbo lump crab meat, little filler, and a phenomenal tarter sauce which was very pleasing to all of our palates.

I was able to taste all of the salads and was very impressed. Blue Star has a great selection, from a wedge salad with the freshest iceberg lettuce and crusty lean bacon to an excellent baby spinach salad with a sweet poppy seed dressing. My favorite was the mixed greens with walnuts and dried cherries; all of the salad portions are very large, easily shared by two.

As far as the entrees are concerned, Davis has perfected every aspect of food from seafood and chicken to veal and beef. We ordered the chicken marsala and it was as tender and flavorful as it could be. “The Butlers Did it Shrimp” was innovative and gently flavored with blue cheese, with very large shrimp; it was a little bit too rich, but that did not keep us from cleaning the plate. Davis makes a habit of naming certain menu items after people or places that have made an impact on him. My husband ordered the grilled flank steak with a crystallized ginger sauce and thought he died and went to heaven. The steak was tender and perfectly seasoned, with an Asian inspired sweet-soy marinade. The house mashers have to be the best mashed potatoes in the area – moist with a hint of garlic, and they just melt in your mouth. Worth every calorie!!!!!

There were numerous desserts to choose from, but the one that impressed my group most was the flourless chocolate torte. It was creamy, chocolaty, and melted in your mouth. It was a perfect end to a perfect night - a special combination with the decaf cappuccino. For lighter dessert fare, poached pears with blue cheese and numerous sorbets and ice creams were on the menu.

This is a fine restaurant, never a disappointment. One of the things that impressed me most about this restaurant besides the quality of the food was how personable the staff is. The hostess was warm and friendly; Joseph Coleman, the owner of the Blue Star, makes his rounds and talks to everyone, making one feel very welcome; the chef, James Davis, is absolutely the best, supervising the kitchen and visiting guests as well. His sous chefs, Andy and James, also make their rounds and are friendly; the bartenders, Cody and Julie, and the waitresses, including Jennifer and Kayla, are all experts in customer service.

When you leave the Blue Star, you feel like you just had a wonderful gourmet meal in an intimate atmosphere that rivals your home. One could not ask for anything more!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Critic is new to the area, yet makes sweeping statements about the potatoes having to be the best in the area, how would she know? What's with every single thing being "perfect?" It's like there is now where to go from there. It over-compliments.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was more concerned about the observation that Blue Star has ample parking. Maybe if you ride a bicycle!

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just because the critic is new to the area doesn't mean they haven't eaten at other restaurants.

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Submission Reviewer said...

Good atmosphere detail, but poor location information. The food descriptions centered around vague praises instead of detailed observations. No pricing or hours listed.

4:10 PM  

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