Starfish cocktail - Laguna Beach

As you may well know, whenever my good friend, Don, comes into town from Denver, he wants to go to Starfish Asian Cuisine. It’s simply one of the checks he must accomplish on his Laguna Beach Checklist each time he visits. 

This is not a visit he has to twist my arm about. I love this place, and haven’t visited in several weeks. 

Last night, the place was hopping, but we found three seats at the bar where Neil, my favorite Laguna bartender, greeted us. I had not yet tried the Starfish Cooler cocktail (pictured), so they set to mixing up Neil’s special – Hangar One Mandarin Vodka with muddled orange, mint yuzu, a lemongrass syrup they make in-house, and Thatcher’s Blood Orange liqueur – while we perused the menu.

Archie, the co-partner in Starfish Asian, let me know that a couple great new items had been added . . . a traditional California Roll with a very not-so-traditional heaping on top of fresh Stone Crab, micro leeks and sweet soy sauce. He also suggested a new Udon Noodle dish with plump, light noodles mixed with shrimp, chicken, green and red peppers, carrots, onion and just the right amount of pepper flake kick.

In the end, the three of us chose the California Roll (fantastic) and the Ahi Poke (as always, fantastically fresh) as appetizers. We SHOULD have stopped there. Fearlessly, we waded on. For dinner, I went with the Udon Noodle dish, whose yummy leftovers I’m finishing this very moment as I type this post. Emily went for our crowd pleasing favorite, the “Mahi Mahi Hot Fish,” and Don chose the half-order of their incredible 5-Spice Baby Back Ribs (I’ll say once again, these are the largest pork ribs I’ve seen in my entire life, and I used to work at Tony Roma’s Ribs when I was in college. I thought I had seen every baby back rib that could be seen.)

The helpings are so generous here at Starfish Asian that there was no hope of finishing anything. Two hours later, we happily waddled to our homes with To Go boxes in hand. 

Par for the course: Starfish is on its game and taking it down. If you haven’t visited yet, you’re doing yourself a serious disservice. Reservations are: (949) 715-9200. Tell ’em Laguna Beach Best sent you. 

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