The Starfish Café
With a menu that's different AND delicious, can it be healthy too? You betcha!
- story and photos by Lisa Monti
The chickens served at Starfish are “free of steroids, antibiotics and cages,” says Di, and the beef is grass fed at a farm up in Collins, Mississippi.
A recent lunch for our trio started with greeting friends we spotted at just about every table in the small dining room. It’s that kind of place: familiar, friendly, and comfortable.
Our timing was off because of a very long freight train so the must-have spring rolls were already gone. Get there early to enjoy the spring mix with tomato, carrot, mango, cukes, mint and sesame ginger dressing inside a tapioca rice wrapper. The accompanying peanut sauce is homemade, as you would expect.
Rebounding from the spring roll miss, we ordered the roasted asparagus “fries,” deliciously crunchy with a parmesan coating, and a delicious, addictive starter.
One of the daily specials made its way to our table: the blackened Mississippi catfish tacos with mango mint coleslaw were served with organic chips and homemade pico.
The cafe gets extra points for letting customers — well, customize orders. On this day, half a Tur-Ba-Cado sandwich (fresh roasted turkey with bacon, avocado and provolone sauced in cranberry chipotle, pressed on house-made sourdough) came with a Winter Popeye Salad (spinach, goat cheese, pecans, Craisins, apple and pumpkin seeds dressed with pepper jelly vinaigrette).
“We’re so small that we can customize a lot of orders according to taste and dietary needs,” Di said. “If you have dietary restrictions, this is the place for people who find it difficult in other restaurants.”
If you’re the kind of diner who likes to go by the numbers, the cafe’s menu has an Under 500 section just for you. I’m not that kind of person but the Thai steak salad caught my attention. The marinated strips of filet topped a large portion of romaine, garden fresh basil, mint and cilantro and all of it was flavored with a citrusy Thai lime dressing. All that goodness and just 160 calories. I know.
There are a couple of other ingredients the folks at Starfish Cafe like to use in generous amounts. “We put a heavy portion of love and happiness in every dish,” said Di. “Our regulars tell us they can taste it.”