In Case You Missed It
Boulderganic Fall 2009
Student Guide 2009
Boulder Weekly Sweet 16 Anniversary
Summer Scene 2009
Best of Boulder 2009
Annual Manual 2009
Newspaper of the Future
Kids Camp Guide 2009
Wedding Marketplace 09
Student Guide 2008
Best of Boulder 2008
Annual Manual 2008
Join Our Mailing List
|March 26-April 1, 2009
• Down on the fish farm
Aquaculture operations meet a globally growing demand
by Bill Daley
A taste of heaven
Heaven Star might be the most stellar Chinese restaurant around
by Clay Fong
They had me at $10.25 salty fish and chicken fried rice. Entering Broomfield’s new Heaven Star dim sum and seafood restaurant, I was pleased as punch to see one of my favorite Chinese dishes on the menu. The mere presence of this dish was most auspicious, and I suspected it would bode well for the quality of the food. The fact that much of the clientele was Asian was also encouraging.
In the hierarchy of North American Chinese restaurants, dim sum and seafood eateries sit at the top, as these are the preferred venues for wedding banquets and milestone birthday celebrations. Consistent with this taxonomy, Heaven Star possesses such upscale trappings as cloth napkins, proper tablecloths and a full bar. While this venue was formerly a chain Mexican restaurant, the décor is now banquet worthy with such touches as rich wood paneling and ornate glass etchings of fish.
Of course, the emphasis is on the food, and a restaurant of this type lives and dies on the freshness of its ingredients. Tilipia and eels swim in tanks here, and live lobsters and Dungeness crab are also available. Before preparing a dish of lobster noodles, staff presents a live crustacean on a tray to patrons for approval and to highlight their entrée’s freshness.
I visited Heaven Star on a recent Sunday with several friends for dim sum, the classic Chinese small plate brunch accompanied by tea. Service is in the traditional style, with staff pushing carts filled with all manner of savory and occasionally sweet dishes. Rather than ordering from waitstaff, diners simply request dishes straight off the cart.
Within seconds of sitting down, we happily tucked into superlative $3.15 orders of sweet and tender eggplant stuffed with minced shrimp. Other dishes followed in rapid succession, including the $2.35 braised chicken feet, which are both fatty and flavorful. If this dish doesn’t arrive at the table hot, it tends to congeal, making for a less pleasant dining experience. At Heaven Star, it came fresh from the kitchen with perfect texture and creamy flavor.
The quintessential dim sum dishes, har gow (shrimp dumplings) and siu mai (Cantonese-style pork dumpling), are as good as you’ll find anywhere. In both cases, the fillings were delicately seasoned, so as to highlight the freshness of the main ingredients. The dumpling wrappers weren’t too thick, which enhances the texture of these morsels. Other standouts included the $2.35 bite-sized pork spare ribs with black bean sauce and a sensual $3.15 plate of crispy skin pig.
The few downsides were that the $2.35 char siu bao or steamed barbecue pork buns could have used a bit more filling (although they tasted fine), and the $10.95 garlic steamed clams weren’t as large or as flavorful as I would have liked. Our table lacked a lazy susan, which would have eased sharing of dishes.
But these are minor criticisms, considering Heaven Star’s quality is comparable to restaurants of this type in the San Francisco Bay Area. Like these establishments, Heaven Star is quite reasonable for what you get. At meal’s end, each of us ponied up $20 including tip, which isn’t bad for an extremely filling brunch including clams and roast duck. Given this combination of quality and value, Heaven Star is my top recommendation for dim sum in Colorado.
Photo: Charles Loughliin
Clay’s obscurity corner
Also on the menu…
Heaven Star pretty much covers all the bases when it comes to a full dim sum menu. Other items we sampled included fried calamari, Chinese broccoli (gai lan), short ribs with black pepper, turnip cake with Chinese sausage and sticky rice with chicken and scallop wrapped in a lotus leaf. Miniature custard pies were also a winner. Items to sample on my next visit include savory rice porridge (congee) and mango pudding. Lastly, the salty fish and chicken fried rice is outstanding, with the pungency of the preserved fish providing perfect foil to the mild flavor of tender chicken breast.
6700 W. 120th Ave., Broomfield
back to top