Starlite

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This past weekend, I was in San Diego. I was there once before, also for a weekend, so, it was great to be able to hit up some spots that I wasn’t able to before. First stop was at Starlite in Midtown. This restaurant and bar prides itself in its architecture and aesthetic, as well it should, because all the details are pretty stunning. Which, you’ll see as soon as you walk through their hexagonal front doors.

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To start, I had their Starlite Mule (Rain Vodka, ginger beer, lime, Angostura bitters). Now, aside from this drink just looking large and in charge, the contents were just as great. Not too strong, not too weak, and tastes delicious. I mean, I’m not sure what else you could ask for. Well, maybe to keep the cool mug. Oh wait, you can totally purchase that there too. Damn, they’ve thought of everything. 

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As an appetizer for the table, we got Broccoli and Cheddar Fritters (with honey mustard sauce). Definitely order these. The fritters are golden brown and crisp on the outside, and filled with chopped broccoli and cheddar. You get those nostalgic flavors of cheddar covered broccoli you ate as a kid (because slathering cheese over food is a sure fire way to get a kid to eat their veggies), mixed with the light, bready texture and rich flavor of the batter. Dip those bad boys (or girls) in the honey mustard sauce, take a bite, fall in love. Repeat. 

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Then as a main I ordered the Grilled Octopus (marinated garbanzo beans, arugula, smoked paprika aioli and lemon). Well, octopus is one of my favorite things, so, I had to order it and put theirs to the test. Luckily, they passed. The octopus was cooked perfectly, totally tender and lightly crisp from the slight char on the outside. The aioli was a nice component for a bit of dipping, adding a nice smokiness and creaminess to each bite.

The Shorts:
Name: Starlite
Location: 3175 India Street, San Diego
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure. After dinner, we went up to their rooftop, which, was just delightful. I’d recommend heading up there at some point.
Would I recommend it? Yes. Whether you’re just in the mood for a good cocktail, or snacks, or, the whole shebang, they’ve got you covered.

Superiority Burger

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Hype. I never believe it until I experience it. I’ve been reading a lot about the new, quick-serve, vegetarian spot, Superiority Burger in the East Village. And, being predominantly veggie myself, I knew I had to check it out.

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So, they’re only open from 6pm-10pm, and closed on Tuesdays, so plan accordingly. But, you’re definitely going to want to make it over. The staff is really nice and welcoming, and the menu is really easy to navigate through, only offering a handful or two of options. The portions aren’t very large, which is great, since it allows you to try different things. And, everything is affordably priced, so, even more of a reason for you to try lots of things.

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First, I had their Burnt Broccoli Salad (eggplant, red chile, coriander vinaigrette). Holy hell, this was great. I really love broccoli, and it’s one of those vegetables that’s really easy to screw up. These were cooked perfectly, leaving them with a bit of crunch and char on the florets. Then you get a kick from the red chile. My favorite surprises were the chopped cashews, and then, at the bottom of the dish, there was this amazingly flavorful eggplant puree, similar to baba ganoush. 

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Next I had a special menu item that night. Since the daily specials are written on a paper posted to the wall, I completely forgot to take note of exactly what was in this, but, it was a potato side dish with olive oil and white wine, in some capacity. Whatever the exact composition was, it was super delicious, and I may or may not have wanted to bathe in the oils. The seasoning was on point and the potatoes were just the right balance of firm and tender, no mushy spuds here. 

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And then, of course, I had to get their namesake menu item, the Superiority Burger (muenster cheese, iceberg, tomato, dill pickle). I’ve had a couple veggie burgers in my day that I’ll never forget. Say what you want, call me a weirdo, but, they were amazing enough to remember. And, I’ve had some that were pure garbage. Don’t worry, this wasn’t one of them. This little guy was small but mighty. You can dress a burger, of any variety, up however you want, but it all goes back to the burger itself. The flavor here was really great, and I especially liked the texture. Some veggie burgers are only slightly softer versions of a hockey puck, and some are so mealy that they just crumble and fall apart. This one was the Goldilocks version, it was just right. So, yeah, the hype was real. 

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Finally, dessert. They offer gelato and sorbet grab bag, so, you gotta be up for whatever. I was. I got a cup with a scoop of Blueberry and a scoop of Labane (topped with toasted coconut). So, so good, and really went well together. The blueberry tasted just like a scoop of frozen, creamy, blueberry pie filling. And the labane, similar to the taste of greek yogurt, was just the tiniest bit tart, but instantly sweetened with the toasted coconut.

The Shorts:
Name: Superiority Burger
Location: 430 East 9th Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure. I had a great experience there, and with new items popping up all the time, I’ve got my work cut out for me.
Would I recommend it? Definitely. It’s mainly best to take food out, but there are little bench seats inside. It’s first come first serve (I was a lucky one who snagged up some prime real estate), so the timing has to be right, but, if not, the food will taste the same, I promise.