During our meal at Melisse’s Norcal vs. Socal Foie Battle we had the fortune of meeting Angie Weber, one of the owners of Cowboy Star in San Diego. So this past weekend we decided to take a trek down to the Gaslamp District for Memorial Day Weekend and paid a visit to her restaurant and butcher shop. Angie invited us to sit at the Chef’s Counter that evening and we delightedly accepted. So follows is a recollection of our taste buds’ adventure to the wild west!
I selected one of their many beers and Alice chose the Painted Lady. It was an interesting cocktail concoction with pretty little flowers. Alice recalled the vodka being a little sharper than she expected. Paired fairly well with her skirt steak.
Honestly we didn’t really care for the amuse bouche. The salmon was good but the toast wasn’t very crunchy – it felt as though they’ve been sitting out for a while. A little bit on the dry side as well.
Dinner began with a small selection of breads with the Molasses Bread being one of our all-time favorites of table breads. Great by itself but I love to spread a generous amount of butter over it.
This is where it gets exciting. C-Star has two off-the-menu foie gras dishes – the terrine and the seared foie. We really wanted to get both but, having already mentally decided on our favorite preparation of foie, went for the terrine.
Very vibrant dish with an assortment of eye-catching colors and tower of brioche. The terrine had a smooth consistency and easily spreadable over the brioche. Extra brownie points for one of the line chefs providing seconds of the toasted brioche after noticing how quickly we plowed through them. I discovered that the best way to eat this was to combine a hefty chunk of terrine with the huckleberry compote and sauce on a piece of toast and eat it all in one bite. The huckleberry flavor is reminiscent of blueberries and really cuts the fatty foie with its sweet and tart flavors. I think we made a good call on this one.
C-Star really takes a lot of pride in cooking their steaks to perfect temperatures, advising no more than medium rare for all their cuts. This makes me smile because I have seen too many wasted steaks being ordered medium or well-done. People just don’t know what they’re missing out on!
Alice had been debating which of the variety of steaks to select for her entree but finally settled on the skirt steak. Clearly described as American Wagyu hailing from Snake River Farms in Idaho, the skirt steak was tender, cooked perfectly rare to order, and had just a bit of a chewy texture. It was served with a slightly sweet jus that balanced the flavors well. The roasted bone marrow blew her away. It was rich and decadent and piping hot straight out of the oven. She liked piling a little scoop onto each bite of steak, while I preferred to enjoy its flavor on its own.
The filet was, as expected, delicious and melted in my mouth. The scallop was a great supplement to the filet, even temporarily stealing the limelight with its depth of flavor and golden sear. A quasi surf-and-turf arrangement to please the palate.
There was quite a bit of black pepper but this wasn’t a problem for me because I like copious amounts of black pepper on my steaks. However, I could definitely see how this could hinder others’ enjoyment of the dish if they are not especially fond of black pepper to begin with.
The accompanying sauteed asparagus and mashed potatoes helped to balance the umami flavors of the steak and helped to enhance the star of the dish.
A light and fluffy contrast to a high-protein dinner – fromage blanc is an excellent substitute for cream cheese. The candied kumquats which used mainly the sweet peel complemented the cheesecake without bringing an overly tart flavor. The honeycomb added extra excitement with a burst of sweetness but unless you want an unpleasant taste and stickiness of wax in your mouth, it’s better to suck on the honeycomb rather than to chew it. Overall a wonderful light end to a heavy dinner. I wonder if C-Star has a pastry chef?
Too bad their merchandise page isn’t up yet. I want one of those C☆ hats all the staff wears.
Cowboy Star is definitely on our list of must-eats in the Gaslamp district. The food was delicious and the service was fantastic. We’re telling all of our friends and family about it, starting with you our readers!
Check out Cowboy Star: www.thecowboystar.com
640 10th Ave
(between G St & Market St)
San Diego, CA 92101
See their Yelp reviews here!