Houston’s Newest Seafood Hotspot Proves Restaurant Revamps Work: Sweet Seafood in The HeightsBY Laurann Claridge // 05.21.17
Restaurateur Lee Ellis at Star Fish
Star Fish's Lady Snow Pea cocktail
Start your meal with one of Star Fish's many small plates like the gravlax.
Sizzling Shrimp at Star Fish
Craving pasta? Try Star Fish's orecchiette with lump crabmeat.
A menu highlight: Star Fish's grilled whole snapper (Photo by Julie Soefer)
It’s another restaurant revamp for Cherry Pie Hospitality, this one teetering on the edge of The Heights. Cherry Pie principals Lee Ellis and Jim Mills were asked by the backers of the ill-fated Bradley’s Fine Diner to reimagine that northern California export from stem to stern.
The result is Star Fish, a coastal concept with soaring ceilings, a 300-gallon freshwater aquarium, and carved woodblock prints on rice paper by South Louisiana artist David Alpha. Beverage mavens Laurie Harvey and Akiko Hagio encourage you to start with a tiki drink — perhaps a martini (the large comes with a sidecar to refill your glass), highball, or gin and tonic — to put you in that beachside state of mind.
The raw bar offerings range from shucked oysters and littleneck clams to an impressive chilled seafood tower chock-full of fresh ocean denizens. Make a meal out of executive chef Armando Ramirez’s small plates, such as the house steak tartar, a creamy classic take (with nary an egg yolk to bind it) topped with crisp fried shallots. The butter-fried French fries are Kennebec potatoes twice fried in clarified butter — take that, arteries!
Don’t miss the puffy, crisp lobster tacos or sizzled shrimp with Spanish pimentón and crusty bread. Another favorite is Lee’s Salad, with boiled egg, cheddar, toasted almonds, and bacon vinaigrette. Entrees are hearty dishes best shared, such as whole Gulf red snapper, tempura fried or grilled, and a pair of perfectly cooked medium-rare lamb chops with warm farro salad.
But don’t stop there. Pastry chef Susan Molzan, now a sweet collaborator on all Cherry Pie Hospitality concepts, brings out her greatest hits. Try the decadent chocolate domino cake or a fig tart (or whichever fruit Molzan fancies in season) with a scoop of Lee’s Creamery vanilla ice cream.
Star Fish, 191 Heights Boulevard, starfishhouston.com.