Brand new, (6 weeks) they don't even have their official sign installed yet, just a banner... but packed! We needed a reservation, earliest we could get was 8:00p on a Wednesday evening. I had seen friends posts on facebook with good reviews, so I found their facebook biz page, to learn more, Asian Coastal and nothing over 30.00, with the name Starfish in Laguna Beach (uh, why hasn't someone done this sooner?) I just had to check it out, family, grand baby included, in tow.
Located on PCH across from the Montage Resort. The studded turquoise door pre set the theme and mood (great design element) held open by the cutest little turtle door stop! We entered the darkened reception area, dark elegantly distressed wood walls, with a large red ceiling light hung above the counter where 2 attractive hostesses stood to greet us. A colorful carpet of turquioise and green swirls layed beneath us, a modern and playful twist on the Orient! I liked!
We were greeted and then seated in a corner booth, just past and away from the bar section of the restaurant. The restaurant was also dark and dimley lit. Elements of Asia all around in the artwork, table settings (chopsticks and candles), lighting sconces (wood lanterns) and drop lights. The booths are covered in a turquoise skin (like a mermaid tail) which almost glows against all the darkness. From my vantage point and view whenever I looked up and over toward the bar area I felt like I was in another land, exotic and mysterious! Buzzing and smelling good. Light background music for ambiance we began our dining experience.
(side note: All the colors were like my new design mini-makeover of my home ~ see my previous post - Island style on a budget, so that was extra cool and exciting for me, DI-licious) Everything was so Di by the Sea!
The Menu (link provided) had a sea maiden on the cover! It's very creative and well thought out. Our waiter gave us a mini flashlight so we could see and read it, my husbands cell phone worked a hole lot better :)
We began with the cocktails, lots of fun drinks with exotic names... the Citrus Brynner, something or other, Empire..??. I will add the correct names as soon as I hear back from the restaurant as they do not list the drinks online.
I went for the Starfish Cooler cocktail of course! Made with Hangar One Mandarin Vodka, muddled kumquat and mint, yuzu with a splash of soda and float of Thather's Blood Orange liqueur.It was so very good! My husband had the Citrus Brynner, made with Hangar One Citron Vodka, elder flower liqueur, white wine, grapefruit bitters and lemongrass. Whaow.
The food is reasonably priced, nice sized portions, served family style. We were recommended the Kobe Bahn Mi beef sliders and the Korean Galbi tacos for appetizers and went with the tacos (2 orders), Maui Kai Ahi Poke w/ taro chips and Green Curry Chicken Satay to start.
We are a family and love to share, so many things I wanted to try, I ordered a Cambodian Cucumber salad and Vietnamese Pho Noodle soup (the soup portion was quite large!). My husband the Hunan Style Filet Minon, my daughter had the Sesame Sugar Snap Peas and added chicken. I'm not going to critique each and every food item, because what I like someone else may not. So, I will just leave it with, I enjoyed everything I ate and I ate a little of everything, and I would order every one of these dishes again. The sauces were rich and flavorful, not overpowering. Interesting infusions of spices and ingredients new to my pallet and all very satisfying, surprising at times and delectable.
They gave us a bowl of noodles for the baby and milk ~ gratis. :) Although they were very accommodating to my grand-baby, I wouldn't recommend bringing children.
Everything was amazingly delicious! I couldn't wait to have our left-overs for lunch the next day.
Within moments of checking in on facebook places, a friend commented back on how she and her family had already been there twice in 2 weeks! I wanted to check-in on gowalla.com, I would have been the first, being it wasn't listed yet, but for some reason it was being glitchy and wouldn't let me create the spot, darn!
The only negative was the slow bar service. We ordered our drinks at 8:10, they arrived at our table, 20 minutes later! Our waiter was very apologetic twice he came over to explain the delay, my husband eventually called over the owner. (She was very friendly and helpful) The upside, our drinks were comped! at approx 12 bucks a pop~ that was a nice surprise! I don't count it against them however, the drinks are great and unique, so it explains the busy bar. Although we would have ordered second drinks, but just didn't have the time.
I would highly recommend this restaurant, the food and the atmosphere are really a pleasure to experience. Casual yet upscale. Great service and friendly staff. Something out of the Ordinary. Yum, Yum, Yum ~ Go! I'm going back again soon! I think it just might become my new favorite spot! (they also have TAKEOUT!)
If you don't trust my review, check out what everyone else is saying here on yelp
(view more images there and on their facebook page)
Also, google it, lots of bloggers are blogging about Starfish!
My husband had a hunch and he was right, Starfish is owned by Nancy Wilhelm the same owner as Tabu Grill in Laguna, another great and unique restaurant that we have enjoyed dining at, rich sauces, dark ambiance. We recommend both!