I went to Starlu the other night looking to check out a new place. It suprised me: the food was good, the location on the first floor of an office building was wierd, but it was very modern simple chic (not inventively so, just fairly well done).
As for the chow...
Appetizers we had were the Calamari salad ($9): fried calamari on a bed of cilantro dominated greens - very flavorful, almost so much as to drown out the calamari; the duck spring rolls ($10) were great long spring rolls that were very savory and wonderful, though it was supposedly served with a marinated boky choy and cilantro salad, all I remember was cilantro and onions! We also had the three cheese Arancini ($7)- creamy cheesy super savory risotto filled balls of fried goodness - an italian hushpuppy? they were served over a light red almost creamy pasta sauce. I had not had Arancini before and thought they were good.
For entrees, we had an Eggplant dish ($15) that I did not try, but got fairly good reviews - eggplant pieces were interspersed with pieces of crispy fried mozzarela with a tomato sauce - not bad, but for fifteen bucks? One guy had the duck breast ($18) which was served over cilantro (again?)-garlic risotto and he liked that. I had Starlu's "Third" burger ($13), which follows the "Second" burger which was a ground pork surrounding pulled pork work of art, I am told. This one was a tuna steak seared and medium rare (they advertised rare, but I thought it was more cooked than most rare tuna steaks I've had that are cool inside). It was topped with very asian-fusion dressings: daikon radish for snap, hoisin sauce instead of ketchup, and ginger instead of, what, relish? Anyway, it was good, but the fried won ton "fries" on the side were like you might get with a cup of hot and sour soup, and a far cry from fries, that's for sure!
I didn't find the homage to porcine products that Detlefchef or someone noticed before - they;ve changed their menu some.
For dessert we were kind of full but shared the Banana trifle ($7)- vanilla and chocolate pudding layered and topped with bananas and crumbled chocolate cookies (a level up from oreos). Not particularly good - we should have headed to Magnolia for dessert, all of the desserts I've ever had there were three to four times better, and only a dollar or two more.
One thing I loved was their wine list: broken into a bunch for $19, a bunch for $29, $39, $49 and then individually priced from there on up - it was an interesting approach that I liked. Final rec? If you want to spend that kind of money (which I do very rarely, I stick to tacquerias and Federal, mostly), I thought it good. Too bad it couldn't be in a more appealing location than
3211 Shannon Road
Durham, NC 27707