30832 S. Pacific Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

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  • Open Sun.-Mon., 4-10 p.m.; Tues.-Thurs., 4-11 p.m.; Fri.-.Sat., 4 p.m.-midnight.
  • $; $$; $$$
  • Takeout
  • Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Snack Food
  • Parking Lot Available, No Parking
  • Reservations Not Necessary
Nancy Wilhelm's Starfish is an Asian restaurant lit like a Western one. A bar dominates a room steeped in shadows and illuminated by tealights. It does a good job softening the features of those who are there to see and be seen, but it's not an atmosphere conducive to menu-reading or seeing your food. Wilhelm's executive chef, Jarvis Yuan, is of Taiwanese descent, and you get the impression he's really trying hard to not resort to the lowest common denominator. His best dish is a Lincoln Log stack of slow-cooked baby-back ribs seasoned with five-spice. He roasts the bones to a char-flecked crispiness, the fire permanently fusing the warmth of star anise and cinnamon to meat so tender it peels off with nary a tug.

Related Stories (1)

  • Starfish Is Asian, But of No Persuasion
    Thursday, July 7, 2011 at 4:30 a.m. by Edwin Goei

    Have you ever noticed the more brightly lit a Chinese restaurant is, the higher its prices? Think of those grand San Gabriel Valley seafood emporiums that might as well be basketball arenas. If this axiom holds, then the inverse is ...


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