Food

Evening Star Cafe

A funky, wine-savvy neighborhood hangout.

From January 2004 100 Very Best Restaurants

This Del Ray restaurant hasn't invested in decor. You wouldn't be surprised if the restaurant showed up in a 1950s movie as a working-class diner. There are two dining areas, the rear one likely to house regulars having a brew or a glass of wine. Upstairs is a wine bar/lounge. The list has many entries priced well under $30, and the restaurant allows diners to bring in wines from the Daily Planet wine store next door for a reasonable corkage fee of $8.

Good starters are grilled quail stuffed with goat cheese and shiitake mushrooms; chicken-and-andouille-sausage gumbo; chicken-and-apple sausage on cheddar-scallion mashed potatoes with a shallot demi-glace; and steamed mussels with fresh ginger-and-lemongrass broth. Recent main-course additions worth savoring are rosemary-braised lamb shank; roast garlic-marinated duck breast with mashed sweet potatoes; sautéed salmon on a Roquefort risotto cake; sautéed beef tenderloin with cheddar-scallion mashed potatoes; and Cajun-style crabcakes studded with chili peppers. Home-style desserts like pine-nut tart and pumpkin cheesecake make for a fine finale.

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