If any dish at B Star manages a rustic sophistication, it's this one.
Since the menu offered no meatloaf tataki, we settled for a spicy-tuna version ($8.50). The fish had been crusted with crushed peppercorns au poivre-style, seared, cut into slices, and served with a gingery mush dotted with bits of jalapeño pepper and flecks of cilantro. It was also quite chilly, which suggested pre-preparation but also brought a cold-flash counterpoint to a parade of dishes that ranged from warm to scorching.
A nicely balanced dish, in this respect, was the duck lettuce cups ($8). The lettuce consisted of long spears, crisp and cool as an early spring in morning; they were on hand here so we could scoop up the duck, a pile of cooling but still warm shredded meat (like the pork in mu shu pork) perfumed with five-spice powder and laced with a mince of red bell pepper, carrots, celery, and scallions. Our only complaint was that the lettuce spears were not particularly useful as scoops; the regular lettuce cups (of broader and more pliant butter-leaf lettuce) would have been better.
Just as it must be hard to be the child of a famous or accomplished parent, so it must be difficult to be the offspring of a restaurant that uses "superstar" for part of its name. Expectations are bound to be stoked. "Star" is at least more modest than "superstar," particularly when it's denoted by a symbol rather than spelled out as a word. And B Star does have glints of something special: the best dishes are memorable, the look is appealing, and the staff is as young and energetic as the crowd. A B is good, but give us an A !
Dinner: Tues.Thurs., 59:30 p.m.; Fri.Sun., 510 p.m.
Lunch: Tues.Sun., 11:30 a.m.3 p.m.
127 Clement, SF
Beer, wine, soju