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Best Taste of the New West Denver 2007 - Cafe Star

Cafe Star
Cafe Star isn't a French restaurant -- though some of the preparations (like the duck confit) are certainly Continental in origin -- and given the worldliness of its cuisine, it isn't a completely American restaurant. It isn't a fine-dining restaurant -- it's too fun for that -- but neither is it just a neighborhood restaurant, because there are nights when even the neighbors can't get a seat. No, on this food frontier, Cafe Star is blazing its own trail, building on the failures of California cuisine, the innovations of immigrant cooks and the decades of dining dominance enjoyed by the big cities on the coasts. This is a New West restaurant through and through, and a great star on the local scene.
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Like Mizuna, Rioja and Barolo Grill, Cafe Star was an old reliable on our fine dining list. However, ever since Chef Rebecca moved to NYC in the fall of 2007, the food has really gone down hill. The steak was undercooked and over-sauced; the jus covered the entire plate and that's just not necessary. The shrimp appetizer wasn't noteworthy, just boring and bland. The salad with hot bacon dressing came cold and too early (right after we got the shrimp app); no, the dressing was not cold b/c we had to wait to eat it, it was cold on arrival. The salad came with mozzarella cheese, which was much too bland for the spinach and bacon dressing; would have been better with a strong blue or goat. And pickled onions on a spinach/bacon salad? No, raw red would have been fine. The whole combination just didn't work.

Besides not presenting the wine, the server filled our proper wine glasses so much that the wine couldn't breath. Not that we care about presentation that much, it was just a sign of how the experience quality has lessened. Unless we hear the food has improved, we won't be going back again. But that's okay, b/c we look at it as an opportunity to try other great places in the city. We were going there so often that we never tried other great places in Denver.

David Young
David Young

Cafe Star is currently my favorite place for dinner. The menu is surprising, the prices less-than-expected, the atmosphere festive, and the martinis, well, sufice it to say, serious.