Tuesday, July 03, 2007

STARFISH Cafe can be a bargain

We moseyed over to Capitol Hill the other day and discovered a wealth of adorable little spots including STARFISH CAFE at 539 8th St, SE which has exposed brick, bright lively colored fish paintings, eclectic, yet cute decor with tables of woven mats underneath glass tops and wooden chairs in need of cushions. There is a cute bar up front under the visage of the Virgin Mary!

Start with a mojito or margarita with her, and then go onto the inexpensive yet tasty wines in the $20 range such as the DURBANVILLE South African 2005 Sauvignon Blanc with gooseberry flavors and a hint of grass or the NEWHAVEN 2006 Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand that reeks of grapefruit.

Some of the dishes are a downright steal and bargain, others not so. Try the TOULOUSE STUFFED MUSHROOMS with Anduille (that's how they spell it) Sausage and Crabmeat with a hint of Hollandaise. They are deep fried, as many of the items are, including the spicy HUSHPUPPIES, so watch your fried calorie intake! I would probably avoid the CHILLED SEAFOOD PLATTER which can be ordered as an entree or split as an appetizer. We easily split the $20+ dish three ways with four plump BLUE POINT OYSTERS, 4 "Cajun" SHRIMP (which were simply your everyday boiled large shrimp with cocktail sauce, but plump, juicy and tasty), a bowl of miniature crab claws that are more of a pain if you can find the meat and avoid the fin, and finally an order of the tasty SCALLOP-SALMON CEVICHE (which can be ordered by itself) which suffers only from too much shredded lettuce.

We also tried one of the CRAB CAKES which cen be ordered ala carte for $7.00 each and a 5 ounces are quite large and tasty, and while they don't compare to the haute cuisine cakes at DC's top seafood emporia, they are a real bargain!

Our entrees were the SOFT SHELL CRAB SANDWICH which has one huge fried crab on a bun with SPICY FRIES on the side and at just over $12 is another bargain. For twice the price there is a SOFT SHELL PLATTER with two of the huge crustaceans, GARLIC MASHED POTATOES and a hint of ASIAN PLUM-GINGER-BUTTER SAUCE (more would have been welcome). These are indeed some of the biggest softshells I have ever seen, but they were breaded and deep fried just a tad too much.

The VEAL OSCAR is a cream dream with Crabmeat, Asparagus and Hollandaise, but I think the desserts carry cholesterol warnings! DULCE di LECHE BAKED ALASKA is less indulgent with Raspberry & Vanilla Sauces and has ice cream cake with piles of tasty caramel meringue. CHOCOLATE TORT is a triple chocolate mousse torte with the same two sauces and Whipped Cream--ask no more.

While Will and I sahred the Baked Alaska, we were still quite stuffed and wished we had not ordered so much...good advice for next time!