This Sh*t's Delicious

Exploring the world through cocktails, shit hole restaurants, and UrbanAg

Review of Blue Star Diner

Blue Star Diner is a new restaurant in Bridgeland opened by the same guys who run Dairy Lane Cafe, taking over the space on 1st Ave where Artisan Bistro used to be. They work on a similar concept as Dairy Lane, serving a solid selection of breakfast and lunch dishes. But I hear that they will offer a dinner menu in the future (at least, that’s what the sign in the window says! –Richard).

There's a fair bit of wine on the wall for a place that's only open for breakfast and lunch!A lot of the food comes from local Alberta producers, and there is a lot to choose from if you go down the gluten-free or vegetarian path. Many of the burgers on the menu offer a gluten free bun for an extra $2. Like many new establishments in Calgary, hype gets built up, and hipsters and foodies all feel like they need to check it out ASAP just so they can tell their friends “oh this place is new, you probably haven’t heard of it before”. So the four of us were asked to wait about 20 minutes one Sunday before a table was available. It was busy, but thankfully the turnover was pretty quick. They offer coffee (not free, but all you can drink) as you sit at the bar or stand outside waiting. I didn’t know cream and sugar was available near the entrance until after I sat down, so I drank it black. And everyone knows the saying, once you go black, you’ll never go back. It was really good brew, in my limited coffee drinking experience.

Isn't pulled pork just carnitas with a less Mexican- sounding name?I had the pulled pork tacos ($14), which came with a side of yam fries. Standard chipotle mayo with the fries, jalapeno salsa with the tacos. The yam fries were some of the better ones I have had. Cinnamon was sprinkled on top, which sounds kind of odd but it works really well. The pulled pork tacos were a bit disappointing though. They were loaded with fresh toppings, but the meat itself I found to be quite dry. But the jalapeno salsa made up for it as it added much needed flavor to the tacos.

Richard’s Experience

This place is literally right around the corner from my condo, yet I never really noticed that it had replaced Artisan Bistro until my cousins were all like “ooh Blue Star, you should check it out!”  I figured it would be worth a shot, so I called down Kent and Kiran for a leisurely lunch.  The fresh robin-egg blue and white made the place feel modern yet comfortable, which fit a new diner quite nicely.  Like most breakfast places in the Edmonton Trail area, this place was hipster central, which Kiran had to explain to one prospective customer (she didn’t stick around ultimately, but it wasn’t the hipsters that scared her off, it was the prices -Kiran).

Steve's gotta save money for travelling, so he went with the white mug!As Kent mentioned, we got to have some coffee while we waited, and as it turns out, they actually have two kinds – a medium roast (“Guatemala”) and a dark roast (“Cup of Excellence”).  I went with the dark roast, and it was nice and smooth without a hint of sourness – just how I like my coffee.  Of course, it turns out that it was $4 for a (admittedly bottomless) cup – it seems the medium roast is only $3, so if you have had enough Excellence for the week then you can save a buck by choosing the medium roast instead.  They have white mugs for the medium roast and blue for the dark so they know which one to top you up with – clever system!

Chicken burger vs. beef burger - next time, pork!Having not been to Dairy Lane, I found the menu quite exciting (any place with pork burgers gets a +1 in my book!), though I am told that they share some similar items – I am guessing the “Dairy Lane burger” isn’t just a coincidence.  I ordered the honey Dijon chicken burger, but was a little surprised when it came out as a patty (wholly my fault, as it’s written right on the menu that it’s ground chicken!).  It was quite nice, if a little lacking in mustard for my tastes (though I could actually taste the honey, which surprised me).  Fortunately for me, I also ordered the stuffed French toast – to split with everyone for dessert, of course – which I thought was REALLY good.  Lightly-egged slices of toast sandwiching a sweet, sultry, slightly melted centre of cream cheese and fruit filling… and topped with berries!  $12 is a bit steep for something of this size, but I thought it was worth it.  The French toast came with a side of hash browns, which I thought made kind of an odd pairing.  The potatoes seemed to be of quite good quality (with a nice natural flavour), which was fortunate because they were rather plain with only a bit of green onion to spice things up.

The service wasn’t the fastest, but it wasn’t too bad given the patron to wait-staff ratio – but I thought the food was solid enough and menu interesting enough to warrant future visits.

This stuffed french toast is just oozing with deliciousness

Kiran’s Observations

Kent and Richard don’t really do justice describe the ambiance of this place. Having recently come back from NYC, the New York “feel” is still freshly pressed in my mind. Blue Star Diner reminded me of  that “NYC feel.” It was a cloudy fall day, so the floor-to-ceiling windows let plenty of natural light in. The place was humming, but it didn’t feel crowded. The dining area itself wasn’t very large, but felt spacious as the tables weren’t packed in too close together. The tables were square, instead of the annoying rectangular, which facilitated the flow of conversation, but left plenty of room for your plates and utensils. And of course, when you first walk in, you are immediately greeted by the bar, with its row upon row of glasses and wine bottles. I almost considered giving a 6 for Ambiance, but it didn’t feel right…I don’t know why.Beans, beans, in magical soup!

I wasn’t feeling too hungry as I had already eaten before, so I opted to get the black bean soup instead. It turned out to be the best decision of the day. The first thing that hit me when I scooped it in my mouth was “wow.” This was possibly the best ”soup” I have ever had – “soup” cause clearly this was more like a vegetarian chilli. You had lime just jumping off every bite without overwhelming the heat and spice in the dish. The thick, spicy broth of corn, beans, onions made for a great dish on a cloudy fall afternoon.

I also tasted the stuffed French toast, which I felt was underwhelming. It sounded so good on the menu, but it failed to inspire in its execution. The  “stuffed” part was essentially a French toast sandwich with some filling in between. Apart from that, there was nothing really that special or different about this dish compared to regular French toast offerings.

Bridgeland is, for some reason, quickly turning into breakfast/brunch central. I love the feel and ambiance of Bridgeland, (and I personally think it’s the next Marda Loop) so it’s great to see this area developing a great restaurant scene. I had a pretty good time at Blue Star, but be warned that the prices aren’t the cheapest. I don’t think you get the full value for your menu, esp. if you are a vegetarian. But apart from that, there’s very little reason to NOT visit the place.

Back to Kent

In terms of value, its okay. Not really that expensive, but no cheaper than any other diner place in Calgary. And if you are a firm believer in buying local and putting those poor oil companies out of business, its a worthy restaurant to support. Everything else on the menu sounds really good, so Blue Star is a place I will have to visit again.

-Kent

Kent Richard Kiran
Ambiance 4.5/6 5/6 5/6
Service 5/6 4.5/6 4/6
Plating 4.5/6 5/6 4/6
Taste 4.5/6 5/6 5/6
Originality 5/6 5.5/6 4/6
Value 4/6 4/6 3/6
Overall 27.5/36 = 76% 29/36 = 81% 25/36 = 69%

Blue Star Diner on Urbanspoon

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One response to “Review of Blue Star Diner

  1. Pingback: Chasing Free-range Chickens at Over Easy Breakfast « This Sh*t's Delicious

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