Grade of B for B Star
Oct 04, 2007
We had a chance to try out B Star Bar—the little sister restaurant of the perpetually mobbed Burma Superstar—on Clement. At least at first, its most attractive quality is that getting a table is easy. Considering that Burma Superstar is perpetually mobbed, I wondered if this was a good thing—why do people wait outside the original place when this new project has 15 empty tables? The answer is probably that the food is not as good. I love everything about the B Star—its decor, charming staff, obvious wit and lovely drinks—but the food was underwhelming.
Hats off to the owners for not merely settling for a Burma Superstar 2. They took the chance to develop an ambitious menu and evolutionary concept of East-meets-West Burmese street food, meant to insinuate classic flavors of Southeast Asia into forms of cuisine that we ‘mericans can understand. However, as often is the case with fusion food, something is lost in translation. And while cleverness may satisfy the brain, my gullet appreciates clearly annunciated, unadulterated flavors—unless the fusion is handled very, very carefully.
Anyway, B Star is a delightful place. We especially loved the deviled tea eggs with tobiko—creamy, rich centers with a lengthy afterburn. The wild rice salad with mushrooms had great texture, but lacked a gutsy flavor as basenote. My duck noodles had that flavor, but lacked some texture—maybe some crunch to break up the monotony of the slippery noodles.
The drinks menu was nice. Lots of Soju cocktails, like a version of the mojito and several mango/lychee drinks. We weren’t in the mood for alcohol when we went in. The ginger lemonade was powerfully flavored—refreshing and savory. I had a pot of white tea, which was glorious. I’m sort of into white tea these days—not just for the delicate, peach-blossom flavor it exudes, but also for the way it somehow texturizes the water into this light, pillowy cloud on the tongue.
Anyway, if B Star wants to fill those seats like its relative down the street, it might decide to get back to basics and make better use of the lovely location.
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