Not long ago Mart noticed a number of our Facebook friends were posting photos of entrees (aka: “food porn”) from The Star Thai & Sushi Restaurant. So being on our too long list of places we need to check out, the stars were aligned for a visit on an otherwise quiet Monday night. (Mart: “I see what you just did there.”)
The Star Thai & Sushi Restaurant is located in Sarasota Commons Shopping Center, one of those in nondescript facades that do little to showcase the treasure inside. The Star is obviously a “go-to” restaurant in this part of Sarasota, as it was quite busy for a Monday night during the quieter “off-season” of the year. As soon as one table paid their bill to leave, another customer sat down to order – just the way any restaurant would like it.
One of the first things I personally liked was the authentic Thai garb worn by the friendly servers. They really added to the atmosphere of the 40+ seat restaurant, as did the friendly “Land of Smiles” welcome as soon as we walked in the door. (And don’t even ask me about the adorable hugging salt and pepper shakers shown below. . . I bought three! One set for me, the other two for dear friends who absolutely love them!)
For our appetizer course, the choice was made in advance. Mart always orders Thai Beef Salad whenever he gets the opportunity. I usually lean towards the Nam Sod, but knowing that we wanted dessert at the end of the evening, we shared the Thai Beef Salad, which offers that wonderful combination of warm, juicy grilled beef mixed with chili paste and lime juice over a crunchy bed of lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, bell peppers, scallions and cucumber. There’s even a garnish of cilantro, for those of you who love it. Fortunely for me, Mart took a phone call, so I hit into the Thai Beef Salad well before he had the opportunity, easily enjoying more than my fair share. Unfortunately for you, dear readers, I dove in so fast I didn’t take a photo first. . . but trust me – next time Mart will let the call go to voice mail!
Second to be presented at the table was Mart’s main course, a Red Curry with mixed seafood of shrimp, crab and chunks of lobster. Fresh carrots, onions, red peppers and asparagus were also highlighted in the dish of creamy, luscious coconut curry broth. This was an absolute WOW on the yummy scale!
Our server recommend the Duck Special, which is on the menu every night, not just Mondays. The boneless, oh-so-crispy duck served and steamed veggies are served with a choice of: Panang Curry Sauce, Garlic Sauce, Ginger Sauce or Chili Sauce. I chose the ginger sauce, since I knew I’d be tasting the curry dish Mart had already ordered.
The Duck Special lived up to the Special billing. Not only was the seasoning a delight, but the chef managed to serve that amazing ginger sauce over the duck while keeping the crispy texture. It was absolutely crunch-perfection from start to finish.
And being a big fan of “following your brand” I have to mention the way The Star serves the side of rice that accompanied our meals. It was presented in the shape of a star, of course. Something so simple, yet it will help this diner remember the name of the restaurant every time someone else serves rice in a pile or in the shape of an inverted cup.
Because we made a point to save room for dessert, Mart and I enjoyed the pleasure of The Star’s Banana Coins. These are essentially a slice of banana wrapped in wonton skin that’s dropped into the deep fryer just long enough to brown and crisp up the wonton, while leaving the banana moist and delightful. Topped with a swirl of honey and dusted with sesame seeds, this was a dessert neither of us had ever had before. Since we love to try new things, the Banana Coins, in my mind, made up for my not ordering my standard appetizer at the start of the meal.
Seeing how much we enjoyed our Thai experience at The Star Thai and Sushi Restaurant, you can bet we’ll be trying the sushi next time we visit. In fact, I’ll come back just to order one of these . . .
Seriously, a chef who can roll a panda face into a sushi roll has some mad skills that I have to see – and taste! Can’t wait to come back!