Starlite San Diego

So I've heard positive things about Starlite San Diego before and it was even suggested for my bachelorette party 2 years ago. I think the downside is the parking because there are huge hilly roads nearby (scary for parking), a one-way street, and a long drive if you have to circle around. Yea, we ended up circling around because we didn't find parking that was less than 0.5 mile away... and uphill too! Luckily, on our second go, someone was just leaving and we scored restaurant parking on the side! We turned the corner and walked about 20 feet before I turned left toward the dark entrance. Dennis was about to pass it up because he didn't even see the doors! The waitress seated us and we began browsing the menu...

To start, Dennis ordered the nightly drink special: Kentucky Colonel Mule ($6). Apparently these always have ginger beer in them along with some kind of alcohol, with this particular one using bourbon! He really liked the cold copper glass it came in (which even says Starlite on it) and the drink itself was refreshing and enjoyable for him! I sampled it but ugh, bourbon/whiskey just isn't my thing.

Our waiter informed us that our chicken entree would take at least 20 minutes to prepare and cook. Unfortunately... it was far longer than that. From what we had heard, an unexpected rush of people came in and many had ordered the chicken special that night which backed the kitchen up. The manager came out and apologized for the long wait and provided us with complimentary olives and almonds as seen in the photo above.

One of the recommended items was the The Burger ($14 by itself, additional $2.50 for bacon). It was cooked a perfect medium rare but I thought it was a bit bland, even when I dipped it into the special mayonnaise on the side. Dennis seemed to like its juiciness and thought it was good. The fries were much better, in my opinion. They were shoe-string thin and had a crispy yet soft texture to them. The saltiness was just right for me.

The other recommendation was the Half Jidori Chicken ($22). The majority of the chicken was extremely tender and juicy. I really wanted to love this dish but I was just... expecting a little more crisp in the chicken skin and a little more wow to the flavor. There's this 'perfect' jidori chicken ideal from Soleil K that I can never get out of my mind and it continues to keep the contenders at bay. The Starlite jidori chicken came with a buttery lemon sauce and sauted spinach. The purple potatoes were firm but not too interesting.

Maybe I was super picky that day but so far, I felt it was a bust. Then we decided to finish up with the ice cream sandwich. Now this dish was a winner! It kind of made up for all the anticipation I felt the rest of the evening! The cold of the ice cream was a great contrast to the sticky lightly chewy softness of the cookie and the pistachio nuts dotted around the edges gave an extra punch of crunchy nuttiness. OMG this felt like one of the best desserts I have ever had! All I could think of was scouring the internet for toffee cookie recipes to make on the weekend.

So, I feel that Starlite is mostly good for drinks and dessert, but not really their dinner menu. It's somewhat small but seems to work for groups if you can grab the large outdoor patio area behind the main dining area. I think I'd come back for just the ice cream though! It's good to share between two people!

P.S. These cookies are what we made this weekend. I originally wanted to make the cookie recipe from a local SD blog Life Made Sweet but since I wasn't sure how important the bread flour ingredient was, I switched to an Oatmeal Toffee Cookies recipe (allrecipes.com) and baked them to perfection in 12 minutes.

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Starlite San Diego
3175 India St
San Diego CA 92103
(619) 358-9766

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Faye's picture
Submitted by Faye (not verified) on Wed, 01/29/2014 - 9:57am

You can also park at the car shop next door (when they close). Parking at atrocious there though - I've circled the area for a good 25 min before trying to find a spot. I like the mule there but they usually use vodka in their version - which I prefer over bourbon/whiskey. The burger can be a hit or miss there - I've experienced same thing. I had the jidori chicken on my last visit and thought it was ok - our version had a green mole sauce so maybe that would have helped your chicken a bit? Starlite is my favorite bar in San Diego - I wrote about it some weeks ago on my blog. I think they have a decent happy hour so I'm hoping to revisit them soon.

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Wed, 01/29/2014 - 10:26am

We heard about the car shop thing too but weren't exactly sure what the deal was so we found alternative parking. I was just disappointed that an expensive burger was just so plain. Oh well. They also had a different jidori chicken special that night that was around $6-8 less so maybe I should have gotten that instead.

Mary's picture
Submitted by Mary (not verified) on Thu, 01/30/2014 - 8:50am

I love Starlight because I love the atmosphere and the cozy feeling of the place. I love sitting upstairs where you can sort of spot the stars and know you're eating outside but it doesn't quite feel like that. The copper cups are my favorite and I like the mules here a lot. I'm a whiskey girl so that drink makes me happy. I haven't been here in awhile but I know I love the cheese plate and I've liked the burger (esp the fries). That dessert looks amazing! The pistachios would have sealed the deal for me on that one. I need to come here again just to try that dessert!

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Thu, 01/30/2014 - 9:46am

I only took a brief look upstairs but I'd definitely want to eat there next time too. It's quite dim on the main floor but seems brighter on the patio. I heard that they used to have a DJ on the main floor too but it would get in the way of their dinner service so it's gone. I'm just trying to imagine this place as a dance party!

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