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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Glen Ellen Star

Three time's a charm when you are looking to drop in on the hottest new dining spot in Glen Ellen. The Glen Ellen Star restaurant opened less than a month ago to much  excitement and anticipation.  It's located on the corner of Arnold Dr and Warm Springs, you can't miss it in this small town.  Just follow the line of people walking in that direction.  Star's cheerful maitre' d will be waiting to greet you when you arrive and a delicious menu and cozy atmosphere.  

My favorite thing about this restaurant is the beautifully situated wood burning oven and open kitchen.  It allows for a visually pleasing taste of all the hard work that goes into putting together dish after dish.  Each plate is lovingly attended to by owner and Chef Ari Weiswasser.  Ari and his wife, dynamo Erinn Benzinger-Weiswasser wanted to create a warm, rustic neighborhood restaurant and they hit the nail on the head with an inspired interior space and a modern rustic cottage feel.  This style of cottage is similar to a lot of cottages that you might find dotted all over the Glen Ellen area, only this one has been upgraded to show open high-beam ceilings, new rustic wood flooring and a touch of modern, with light weight aluminum chairs.  Even the bathroom is stunning!  Along with the delicious food, these ingredients add up to a wonderful dining experience.

Last night, the sitting area around the open kitchen was filled with singles and couples all trying out the various menu choices.  I noticed two well-known local restauranteurs dining together, checking out their (friendly) competition and having fun in the process.   They were eating the delicious paella and lamb, (exquisite looking, by the way) with approving eyes and taste buds.  It was fun to see the wait staff dancing and whirling around them while keeping their wine glasses topped off.   My husband and I shared their special salad of grilled zucchini, zucchini blossoms, roasted potatoes, pickled tomato, and croutons with a couple of dollops of yogurt raita at $9.  Following the salad came a perfectly cooked Margherita pizza for $12.  A real deal!  With their wood-fired oven sizzling away in the background, you could taste it before it landed in front of you and into your mouth.  The crust just browned, tomato sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil is one of my favorite combinations.  What could be better for the arrival of summer?  Our main course was a delicious paella with perfectly cooked octopus and shrimp.  It was a little pricey at $25, but a perfect size for two, and worth every penny and bite!  We don't always order dessert, but who can resist homemade gelato for $5?  Salted peanut butter gelato anyone?  My husband was swooning, I thought he was going to fall off his chair. and if you can't finish it, that's fine, its served in a sweet 1/2 pint container with a lid for easy travelling.   Call ahead for a reservation or go online and check out their menu for take out.   Hours: Sunday-Thursday 5:30-9:00pm, Friday and Saturday 5:30-9:30pm  13648 Arnold Dr. Glen Ellen

Happy Dining!  Tricia

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