Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Starry Kitchen

What began as the ultimate pop-up restaurant--one operating out of the kitchen of husband-and-wife team Nguyen and Thi Tran-- is now a downtown LA lunch hotspot.

Starry Kitchen

Starry Kitchen, located in California Plaza, serves up pan-Asian cuisine with a smile, courtesy of the lovely and hilarious Nguyen, who will scare the bejesus out of you while he explains the ordering process (just ask for his spiel) and then helpfully offer suggestions for your lunch.

At Starry Kitchen, you begin by picking your "protein," then choose your "vessel" and, finally, your "side." Don't get too attached, however, to the protein choices listed below; the dishes constantly rotate, and something you love one week might go *poof* the next (unless it's the uber popular fried tofu balls, which made their triumphant return this week).

Menu @ Starry Kitchen

I ordered the Nebraska Angus Japanese Meatball Curry in a Banh Mi sandwich with a side of Korean Glass Noodles ($7.50). The meatballs' flavor and fluffiness were reminiscent of hamburger steak while the veggies in the curry (such as corn) gave it a beef stew-like character. Talk about comfort on a (pillowy) banh mi for this Hawai'i girl. Also tasty were the sandwich's other veggies, which added freshness and crispness to each bite, and the Korean glass noodles, which I happily slurped down.

Japanese Meatball Curry Banh Mi @ Starry Kitchen

Although I enjoyed my lunch, I was obsessed with J's Malaysian Chicken Curry lunch plate, which was served on Coconut Rice with a side (he also ordered the Korean glass noodles) plus Asian Sesame Slaw ($8.95+$1.00 for coconut rice). The flavor of the tender chicken played deliciously well off the sweetness of the coconut rice, and I couldn't help but stealing bites from J even as I grew dangerously full from my own plate. Hey, what if I can never order this again?!

Malaysian Chicken Curry w/ Coconut Rice @ Starry Kitchen

We both also enjoyed the cool, refreshing Asian Sesame Slaw, although it might have benefited from an extra dash of pepper.

Asian Sesame Slaw @ Starry Kitchen

Although I loved every bite of my (and J's) lunch at Starry Kitchen, what really made the experience for me was the affability of Nguyen, who came to chat with us while we lunched. In fact, I loved Starry Kitchen so much that I took my family back the following week for a post-graduation lunch, and I eagerly await seeing what future visits have in store for me and my tummy.

Starry Kitchen
350 S. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 617-3474

Starry Kitchen (California Plaza) on Urbanspoon
Starry Kitchen in Los Angeles on Fooddigger


  1. Very cool blog. Love this Starry Place and how it got started. Nice photos too.

  2. Thanks! I appreciate it! Starry Kitchen's great.

  3. I'm finally going to Starry Kitchen tonight since I can never make it there for lunch. I love the SK crew, as I tried their food from their supper club days. Good times!

  4. Yum! I can't wait to try Starry Kitchen once their dinner service starts! They've been taunting me with their lunch-only hours for months!

  5. I need to make a trip to Starry Kitchen, the next time I am in LA. I hear so much about them. Nice blog!

  6. @ThirstyPig Thanks! Also, now you can try Starry Kitchen for lunch or dinner (on Thursdays and Fridays)!

  7. I think they listened to you because today's slaw was extra peppery!

  8. Very Nice blog. The pictures are so delicious. Thanks for the sharing.

  9. This post is one of a kind. Sharing this is a great help for the readers in order for them to widen their knowledge about the subject. More power to the author.