No. 9 Starfish
Just walking into the dining room at Starfish is fun. Clear acrylic jellyfish lights dangle from the ceiling; piscine portraits adorn century-old brick walls. The star here is indeed fish, a category that includes critters with fins, shells, and tangly legs. An excellent appetizer is the octopus, an edible still life of tender tentacles, bold turnips, and shy slices of sweet pear, all bumped up with dabs of dusky smoked cream and a sultry tonkatsu sauce. Continue to go with the flow and order the grouper with wild mushrooms and cured parsnips, the fish moist under its own crisped skin and a sage pan jus. Landlubbers needn’t worry; they’re well served by a gravy-rich duck pot pie with bits of confited fowl, carrots, and potatoes. It comes in a small iron skillet that has been cleverly shingled with pâte brisée. The chef here is 28-year-old Diego Fernandez, whose dad, Rene, is the chef and owner of Azuca, next door. Like father, indeed.
Opened June 29, 2014. 709 S. Alamo, San Antonio (210-375-4423). L & D Mon–Sat. Reservations recommended.