709 S Alamo, (210) 375-4423, starfishsa.com
Southtown's reeled itself a big one. As the sister location of Azúca Nuevo Latino, Starfish made a fanciful splash in the downtown area this summer by adding elegantly plated fare with a seafood spin.
With only 12 or so tables, the compact restaurant is quite the cave of wonders. Starfish features a gleaming open kitchen and exposed brick walls enclosing the space. The ocean theme is more subtle and abstract than that of its peers—long jellyfish-esque lamps dangle from the ceiling near the chef's table, two glass chandeliers made of bubble-like chains anchor the entry and only three fish-inspired pieces of art hang from the wall, all touches brought in by artists Abraham Mojica, Charles Harrison, Emmett Martinez, Nik Soupé and Maureen "Momo" Brown.
The menu, which changes frequently to keep up with seasonal produce availability, reflects Texan and coastal flavors. Our dinner visits found solid options, including delicately prepared scallops, blackened drum and artfully presented bouillabaisse.
Try the dreamy ahi tuna poke with chilled cucumber and Brazilian nuts, or the duck pot pie.
And don't miss out on desserts like house-churned ice cream, sweet and savory banana bread with brûléed banana and plantain chip or the N'awlins-style baby beignets with cinnamon sugar, espresso cream and a zesty citrus spread.
You won't find tacky fish decor here, but you will find beautiful sea-inspired bites.