Thursday, June 21, 2012
"Hi! Welcome to Starry Kitchen! Have you been here before?"
These are the first words you'll hear, and they're important. This is Marisa or whoever is at the front register making sure you won't screw up your own order, and you're going to walk out of there happy. After all, they are an unconventional place. Each week they pull another delicious option out of their sleeves, and whether it's served with complementary fried rice, or as a crispy banh mi, they deliver. They deliver Asian fusion at its best, double fried ginger chicken wings, Bulgogi burger, Kimchi cakes, and crispy craveable tofu balls. Their food is untouchable, and the chef, Thi Tran, although definitely quieter than the front man and her husband, Nguyen, has mad skills in the kitchen and her versatility and talent shines through in every dish.
Whether it's their use of odd ingredients, penchant for dropping F-Bombs, and habit of rotating out your favorite dish, Starry Kitchen is not your usual lunch spot. Ball jokes, banana suits, and a hyperactive social network is what have drawn customers and media to this downtown Bunker Hill lunch spot. However, the typical customer comes from the banks and corporations that populate the Financial District in downtown. These aren't the type of customers that you'd imagine eating at a former illegal underground Asian fusion place, but they are Starry Kitchen's adopted masses of adoring fans.
Why? Their twitter features other restaurants' food almost more than their own, and their website makes a mobile browser cringe. Still, they have a crazy active facebook page and on yelp they are constantly on 5 star fire. They are the home to LQ@SK, a pop-up restaurant featuring celebrity chef Laurent Quenioux and present at most of pulitzer prize winning food writer Jonathan Gold's events around town.
Let's talk food now.
- Use of pork belly and bacon
- Asian fusion
- Rotating menu
- Social media
- Pop-up restaurant
- Ball Jokes
Sounds pretty on-trend to me. Are they going to fade in popularity though? No, because none of those reasons are why Starry Kitchen is your favorite new restaurant.
When you go to Starry Kitchen, whether its your first or umpteenth time, you feel like you're their favorite customer. You feel like you know them, and they know you. Starry Kitchen is a throwback to the small town restaurants, where you knew who ran what and you went not just for the food but for the people.
Starry Kitchen is your favorite because they are all about customer service. They work hard for your business, and they work hard to make you come back, and you walk away not thinking "Wow they have great customer service." You walk away thinking "Wow they're really nice." and that's the difference.
It might not be Starry Kitchen, it might be Chego, or Huckleberry, or any of a dozen other restaurants, but your new favorite restaurant is one like this. One where you go for the people as well as the delicious food, because that's always on-trend.