Star Crossed Lovers

When I made the reservation for eight of us at Cafe Star, it sounded like they might have trouble tabling that many people on a Friday, they took the reservation anyway. When I arrived with only two others they seated us immediately not once asking when the rest of the party will arrive. They quickly took our drink orders and we had full glasses of delicious Cheapskate Cabernet and a bottle of bubbling Vino Verde (not Prosecco) waiting for everyone when they showed. When the other six people arrived, they accommodated our extra arrival without rancor and quickly had another place set before she even reached the table. Our waitress, the dear Andrea, whom I had already fell head over heels for, answered all of our questions patiently and knowledgably. And trust me, we bombarded her with questions about everything on the menu! My wine glass was never empty, nobody attempted to take my plate before I was done (a common occurrence with a slow eater like me), we were rarely bothered during our meals, and wholly taken care of. On top of all that, Andrea didn’t include gratuity in the bill, she knew full well that her performance would do the correct math. Amazing! Was there really this kind of service in a Denver restaurant? How completely refreshing. If this meal were based solely on service it would have been incredible.

Instead, Rebecca Weitzman, made Cafe Star top itself with menu that continues to amaze me. The menu changes to evolve with the season’s freshest produce and meats. Our table started off our meal with three flatbread pizzettas appetizers, all of which were unique and flavorful. We worked the kitchen over by each ordering a unique dish (doubling up on only one plate) and every one of them was delicious. Portions seem small at first glance but are rich and intense with unique flavors. Our buffalo steak was returned because it was a little undercooked, but it came out three minutes later seared to perfection and was promptly devoured. I ordered the lamb which was heaven on a plate and a perfectly sized portion for such a rich cut of meat. There was no problem finding dishes for the vegetarians in our party (and not just pasta with vegetables) though the pressed eggplant was probably the only dish not to my liking. In my opinion the best dish on the table was the lobster-and-rock-shrimp pot pie riddled with tarragon, as comforting as comfort food gets, yet as luxurious as anything. My girlfriend ordered the crisp gnocchi with truffle oil and escargot, which I finished without question. Don’t miss the soft-sweet beets with pistachio-crusted goat cheese or the crab-filled potato ravioli with white truffle sauce. The desserts were good too, though no match for the entrees. You won’t be disappointed with the Chocolate and Chili Pot d’Creme.

Cafe Star is hip, without attitude. Somehow, the entire room feels like both a trendy hot spot and low-key neighborhood hangout. It’s colorful and creative. Flavored and textured.

Now if there were only more restaurants in this town on the same level of excellence as Cafe Star. Have any ideas?

9 thoughts on “Star Crossed Lovers”

  1. I had one of the best meals in Denver there on a date with my ex. We wanted to try everything so they actually made smaller portions of a couple of the dishes so we could have a buffet. It was great.

  2. wow – lucky you. you got to eat the pizzas AND the gnocchi there. when we went they were out those and, um, practically EVERYTHING else on the menu. it was only 7 PM. we ordered, and i kid you not, 3 times before what we wanted was actually available…the waitress had no clue and had to keep running back to check.

    plus, my friend is preggers and can’t eat gorgonzola and requested it not come on her salad and then? gorgonzola. our table was wobbly and i sat with an empty wine glass for a long time.

    sorry to be the cafe star buzzkill, man. but it was not a good experience. i will say that what we did end up eating was yummy, though.

    ideas of other places: z cuisine, zengo, duo, bang.

  3. ouch, souds like a bad one rosie. they were out of two desserts when we were there, it wasn’t a problem because we had an additional six to choose from though. Andrea noticed our table was wobbly when she set her hand on it – she asked me to scoot out my chair, quickly got on the floor, twisted the table leg, and viola it was fixed. seriously, she was incredible.

    thanks for the suggestions.

  4. I’ve heard about the fabulous service and wonderful small plates at Cafe Star, and we’ve been meaning to check it out. It’s a couple blocks from our house, which makes it all the better! I’m glad to hear another positive review (and sorry to hear about Rosie’s experience).

  5. seriously, that was an amazing restaurant review. where is this cafe star and is it very expensive? sounds like it might be…but as i will be in denver next weekend and unable to waste my money on booze as i am presently knocked up, perhaps i’ll treat myself to a fine dining experience. location, please!

  6. Cafe Star is located at 3201 E Colfax Ave, Denver, 80206 – (303) 320-8635

    It is fairly expensive (i think it averaged around $18 a plate) but well worth it. my girlfriend went their for small plate (cheaper) last week and said they were all good. you should definitely give it a try. let me know what you think.

    I’ve walked by Sambuca a million times and never eaten there. Some day I’ll give it a try.

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