Frugal Find: Starry Kitchen

Take a break at Downtown’s Starry Kitchen, with its multiculti mix and match approach 
sommelier_p Photograph by Jessica Boone

At Starry Kitchen, a lively downtown luncheonette, pan-Asian and California cuisines converge with novel results. A Thai Cobb salad is studded with pieces of lemongrass seasoned freerange chicken, and hoisin mini burgers shine in a combination plate. Check the blackboard for the day’s specials or play chef by picking a “protein” (maybe Taiwanese fried pork chops or the vegetarian kimchi Parmesan rice cakes), a “vessel” (salad, wrap, sandwich, or rice plate), and a side (including fried chapchae noodles, curry rice, and Asian coleslaw). The underground: When chef Thi Tran was laid off from her job last year, she and her husband, Nguyen, decided to operate a homespun (but taboo) supper club out of their apartment. Expect Starry Kitchen to host a reprise of the popular dinner venture—this time legally. » 350 S. Grand Ave., downtown, 213-617-3474.