Without the complex flavors of gourmet cuisine, the only way to find novel sensory perceptions is to solve perfume-scented math equations. Derive finer sustenance with today’s Groupon: for $30, you get $60 worth of contemporary American cuisine and drinks at Starker’s Restaurant.
John McClure, head chef and owner of the upscale Starker’s Restaurant, conducts the creation of contemporary American dishes orchestrated with a variety of seasonal ingredients from local farmers. On the seasonal menu, grilled foie gras from La Belle Farms waltzes with the springy flavors of a strawberry-and-pistachio salad, rhubarb jam, and strawberry jus ($17), and pan-roasted Alaskan halibut juggles spring peas, fava beans, and oyster mushrooms over a pool of spring garlic sauce with only a strainer for a safety net ($32). Pairing filet mignon and Alaskan king-crab meat, the Filet Oscar lives up to its namesake with heartfelt supporting performances by béarnaise sauce, whipped potatoes, and Al Pacino as a convincing bundle of asparagus ($39). The streamlined lunch menu features twists on American favorites with numbers such as the grilled shrimp po’ boy in a Creole remoulade sauce with a mixed-greens salad ($12).
Starker's Restaurant's wine racks and underground cellar support more than 8,000 bottles representing around 1,665 wines from all over the world, helping earn the establishment a Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. The wait staff always stands ready with suggestions for palatable pairings of reds, whites, and invisibles.
Set beneath a tiled mosaic and a carved stone arch, the door to Starker's points the way to a 40-seat dining room decorated in French country style. A 40-page wine list on each white linen tablecloth describes the more than 1,600 labels in the sommelier's cache, whose breadth garnered a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence. Vintages poured into Riedel glassware pair with seasonally rotating entrees, such as seared scallops, duck breasts, and grilled strip steak. Greens, heirloom beans, brussels sprouts au gratin, and other harvests from local farms round out each meal. Starker's also hosts special events, such as rehearsal dinners and catered jury deliberations, in a private dining room that seats up to 80 guests.