Black. This, I’ve decided, is the perfect descriptive sense of Star Bar. A brick exterior surrounds the only defining feature being the outline of a blue star in the window which sits in front of dark black curtains designed to keep the place dimly lit. Inside is similar to what you’d expect. It’s definitely a dive bar. It’s definitely got a rock influence. It’s definitely a bit hipster. I mean the website alone is Star-Bar-Rocks.com, which is pretty spectacular in it’s own right. Those are definitely red light bulbs being used above. None of this is a problem, mind you. I tend to enjoy these places, but at this moment I’ve been without food and overworked and all I want is a delicious burger. With traveling by foot in the cold out of the question, hesitation set in when all I assume will be available is fried chicken strips and an onion ring basket if I’m lucky. Blah.
Stepping up to the bar I’m greeted with a head nod. Friendly in a “I’m really freaking cool” kind of way, a stiff whiskey was served as I perused the plastic laminated menu which had giant rings to bind it which lead to pages “flipping” in random directions. “Oh, burgers and sandwiches. Nice,” I thought to myself especially as I saw real ingredients for a good burger like Swiss, mushrooms, and avocado. “What’s this?” Free-range, grass fed meat. Huh. Not sure weather to be proud or ashamed of Portland right now. I order my burger – with tots of course – grab my order number (which is actually just an old record) and slide onto a black couch in the corner seat to sip my Buffalo Trace.
My order takes a while to come out, though I understand why almost immediately. The smell of spices hits my nose and I realize this thing has probably been made by hand from scratch a moment ago. The burger has been hand shaped and cooked medium rare. It’s incredibly juicy – enough so that every bite or two ends with a finger cleaning. Maybe there is something to this free-range beef because it tastes incredibly fresh and pure, The bun is fresh and lightly fried with a touch of oil. The Swiss cheese melts away over freshly sauteed mushrooms and uneven chunks of avocado practically fall out. My friend is drooling over my food at this point.
This is when I lose a tater tot. Two. A fork is then used on the friend’s hand. By the end, I’m full yet almost considering ordering another because of how incredible it just was. How incredible? This was possibly the best burger under $10 I’ve had in Portland. That’s saying a lot in one of the top culinary cities of the country.