THURSDAY, MAY 23, 1996
New star on Portage Avenue Dining Horizon
Connie Thiessen with Uptown
May 23 - 29, 1996
The cards are definitely in restauranteur Shirley Vlassie's favor and her latest venture, the Star Grill, will undoubtedly have a bright future.
For Vlassie the third time's the charm. She has been involved in two restaurants that were veritable institutions of the local dining scene: The Chocolate Shop - where she introduced Tarot card reading to the city - and Eastside Exchange.
Vlassie is now reaching for the heavens with her latest endeavor, the Star Grill, located at 2069 Portage Ave. across from Assiniboine Park. Known for designing food as well as atmosphere, Vlassie has incorporated dining her flair for decor at the Star Grill. The celestially appointed dinning room features a star motif that is carried from the astronomy charts on the wall down to the star-shaped garnishes that accompany food orders.
"I wanted the whole theme to revolve around the stars - I've always loved them," said Vlassie.
Amidst smoky blues and metallic decor, the cosy space is the ideal atmosphere for a lingering dinner or to have the stars revealed since Tarot reading is available.
"It's a very natural environment," said Vlassie of the decor. "The whole ambience is tied into the readings."
Vlassie introduced tarot readings to Winnipeg after a trip to Vancouver in 1978, where she waited over three hours in an eatery for a reading.
"I thought, "This is ridiculous. I might as well bring it home instead," said Vlassie, who has since had readers in each of her restaurants.
"Tarot is becoming a natural progression in people's lives as another spiritual avenue," said Vlassie. "If it wasn't popular it wouldn't have stayed. It would have fallen by the wayside as a trend."
Reid Edwards, who has been with Vlassie through all of her restaurant ventures, is available to read cards daily and Trish Elwick conducts weekend readings.
Edwards says many customers are more at ease in a public environment when having their Tarot read. The new restaurant is also very comfortable for him as reader, he says.
"The Star has a very different quality from any place I've ever worked in," said Edwards. "It's very comfortable aesthetically, the energy, the mood, the people who work here. Everything fits together and enhances what I do."
Edwards says the resurgence in Tarot card fascination has increased as people place more emphasis on individual development rather than surviving as a collective society.
Reading offer insight and interpretation into available goals and choices, helping clients to understand his or her own destiny, said Edwards.
Readings cost $18 and run approximately 30 minutes, available 2 to 9 p.m. daily and 1 to 7 p.m Sundays.
The Star Grill is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 'til midnight Friday; 9 to midnight Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.
Star Grill offers host of dining options
The Star Grill at 2069 Portage Ave., offers an entire cosmos of dining choices with an innovative menu that incorporates everything from traditional favorites to unique vegetarian alternatives.
"I wanted to give people down-to-earth quality food, but varied to please a lot of palates," said owner Shirley Vlassie, whose menu reflects her effort to promote healthy eating choices.
Everything from soups to salad dressings are made on site to produce detailed and artfully presented plates.
The appetizer list is a good place for diners to begin transcending their hunger.
From delicious homemade soups, to lightly breaded tempura vegetables in a ginger-soya dip ($5.25), the appetizer selection offers an affordable introduction to the Star Grill's cuisine.
If greens are your scene, the range of crispy salads served with seven-grain bread is sure to find favor. The house specialty, The Star Salad ($7.50), is a succulent blend of sprouts, red onions, cucumber and tomatoes with the added zing of oranges and almonds served with a tangy balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Other tempting selections include the traditional Caesar ($5.75) and unique options like Field of Greens with shredded mozzarella cheese ($5.95) and Niko's Greek Salad with feta cheese and kalamata olives ($6.75).
The Star Grill's main course menu has something to suit everyone, whether you're a Libra looking for a well-balanced meal, or a Leo with ferocious appetite.
The basics like sandwiches, and burgers are given an interesting twist. The aptly named Cosmic Reuben ($6.95) and Star Burger ($6.95) are out-of-this-world options.
Unique menu items like Tortilla Wraps, with a wide selection of stuffings, provide a healthy dining option at a moderate price ($5.95-$7.95).
For traditionalists there is an ample selection of old favorites like kolbassa sausage and perogies ($7.50), fish and chips ($6.95) and the oven-roasted turkey sandwich ($6.95).
After 5 p.m., the kitchen really gets cooking with daily evening dinner specials and a main fare menu (each dish is accompanied by a soup or salad). Stand-out items include the delicious Mediterranean Spinach Cheese Tortellini ($11.95) - sundried tomatoes and fresh mushrooms are tossed into the mix of this flavorful pasta dish. The stir-fries - Hoison chicken, beef or vegetarian - also are highly recommended.
Don't forget to try the Star's temping dessert menu. The homemade sweet treats are the final illustrious touch to cap off an ethereal dining experience.
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RESERVATIONS: CALL 204-837-STAR