Best Bite: Starship

A better lunch, a good value

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By David Hammond

Starship on Madison in Forest Park is an odd place, and I mean that in the best way: quirky, eccentric, not boring.  The main dining room pulls through a Star Trek theme with pictures of William Shatner (“Bill” to all you Trekkies out there) and other characters from the short-lived but apparently eternally re-running television series.  In the display case are phasers and other Star Trek gear, action figures from the television show, as well as characters and products from Star Wars and other related outer space adventures.

As I ordered my lunch, I heard on the restaurant’s sound system “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.” Jefferson Starship (get it?!).

With all this Trek-related folderol, you might expect the food to be an after-thought, but I had a punnily named DeForest Pork (word play on DeForest “Bones” Kelly and the city in which this restaurant is located).  This sandwich was composed of pretty good pork and mozzarella with onion and mayo, warmed, which is a requirement for any sandwich I order in a restaurant.

While I was eating the sandwich, it occurred to me, “Wow, this pork actually tastes like pork.” It’s a sad commentary when it merits note that a meat tastes like what it is. The portion-controlled industrial meat products used by many fast food sandwich shops have a flat generic taste, rendering pork and chicken practically indistinguishable. This meat was most definitely swine.

The pork is house-cut and the potato chips (Starchips) are made in-house. They even house cure their own carrot pickles. I appreciate that attention to detail, and that simple urge to do a little better results in a better lunch and a good value: my lunch came in under $6 for a “half-sandwich” – you don’t want a whole one.

In addition to a lot of homemade lunch items, there’s an extensive line of Starship sauces and soups, which is impressive. The owners of this place are clearly nothing if not enterprising (get it?!).



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