The Blue Star (1645 S. Tejon St., 632-1086, thebluestar.net)
I have to admit, on this year's Best Of ballot, I voted for the Blue Star — and in more than one category. Apparently I wasn't alone.
The Blue Star grabbed a massive nine awards, including first places in Overall Restaurant (for the third time) and Wine List (for the fifth year in a row). Add second places for Wine Bar, Appetizers, Wait Staff and Innovative Menu, and thirds for Fine Dining, Restaurant for Dessert and Place for a Blind Date, and what you've got is a force to reckon with in Colorado Springs.
We decided this year to go straight to some of our voters to find out why they rate the Blue Star so high.
Visits the Blue Star: For happy hour, twice a month. For dinner, every six weeks or so.
Why did you select the Blue Star for Best Overall Restaurant? The Blue Star is a place that I'm very comfortable taking people that I know, because the food is always interesting, and changes frequently. It's a visually distinctive environment, and it's very comfortable.
Do you have a favorite drink there? I'm a traditional martini girl. So I will go in and ask for a gin martini with a twist. And that's a drink that's very simple, and yet can be ill-prepared very easily. And for me, it's one of those places I can go in and know exactly the drink I'm going to get, and I don't have to worry about it.
If you got locked inside the Blue Star overnight, how would you choose to pass the time? I would make myself a martini and I would stare at that gorgeous carpet that's on the ceiling, and look at the art that they have in there, and try to find where they keep the cheeses in the kitchen.
If you could tell owner Joe Coleman one thing about the Blue Star, what would you say? Thank you for creating a place I love so much.
Visits the Blue Star: A couple times a year.
Why did you pick the Blue Star for Best Overall Restaurant? Just because I think it is the best overall. They have a good unique menu, great wine list, great ambience. Of the places I've been, it's the best place I've eaten in town.
Do you have a favorite dish? No. Their menu changes so often. Every time I go there, there's something different on there that kind of strikes me. But usually anything they do with the ahi is good.
What one word would you use to describe the Blue Star? Excellent.
If you could tell owner Joe Coleman anything about the Blue Star, what would you say? Keep up the good work.
Visits the Blue Star: Not as often as I would like, probably a couple times a year.
Why is it the Best Overall Restaurant? I think that it really offers such a good overall menu, No. 1, that it really appeals to everyone. I'm a big fan of the Famous, but the Blue Star is so imaginative, as far as their menu goes. And I've brought folks from out of town there who've just thought it was wonderful. The service was always good. ... I travel quite a bit, and the restaurant is as good as any restaurant I've been to anywhere, which is nice.
If you got locked inside the Blue Star overnight, how would you pass the time? I think a couple things. I think I'd be snooping through the kitchen because I like the kitchen, I like the layout, and I'd kinda like to see what they cook in, what they use. I'd also go poking around in the wine cellar. And I'd like to see what spices the chef has on his shelf.
What one word would you use to describe the Blue Star? Inventive.
What do you like best about the Blue Star? The thing that I really love about their food is that [chef James Davis] combines a lot of different flavors in a very unique way that you wouldn't think about necessarily. And yet, the flavors never overpower the dish, which is great.
Melissa Kimbler Blevins
Visits the Blue Star: Three or four times a year.
Why did you select it for Best Overall Restaurant? We always have a great time there. It's a combo of the atmosphere and the menu. I've never had a bad thing on the menu. There's always a lot of variety.
Do you have a favorite dish? I love the Enchiladas No. 5. I've never had anything there that I didn't like.
What makes the Blue Star special? It's a really great place for a date night, or for a fun kind of event. I've never actually sat in the dining room. We always just sit in the bar. We love that you can have both menus [in the bar]. ... It's not really like a bar. It doesn't feel like a bar.
If you got locked inside the Blue Star overnight, how would you choose to wile away the hours? I know that I would open up a bottle of La Crema. And then start looking for the desserts.