Star-lite Dining and Lounge; Pomegranate Bistro 

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fare is essentially good bar food with a few nice surprises and a few disappointments.

An order of crostini ($5.95) turned out to be slices of dubious French bread thoroughly soaked and soggy with tomato sauce and topped with melted mozzarella. Pan-fried pot-stickers ($5.95) (steamed and then fried Asian dumplings) were stuffed with a savory mix of ground pork and served with intensely spicy Chinese soy dipping sauce and a milder honey mustard sauce.

We also ordered the sautAced veggie sub ($5.95), which stands out because its vegetables are sautAced in garlic and wine before being baked in a roll with tomato and cheese. It's a nice touch that adds a distinctive flavor. The chicken Star-Lite ($9.95) also turned out to be a pretty neat dish. A sautAced boneless chicken breast is topped with spinach, smoked ham, roasted red peppers, onions and Gorgonzola cheese and flashed under the broiler. With all those flavors and textures, it's a dish that will hold your interest for a quite a while. — B. Ifan Rhys

Star-lite Dining and Lounge
Main and Robinson streets
Lunch and dinner daily 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

At Pomegranate, the newest eatery in Shockoe Slip, chef-owner Kevin LaCivita combines French and Italian elements with fresh American ingredients in the same kind of creative fusion cooks have been doing with Asian ingredients and techniques for years.

The main courses ($15.95-$27.50) are about equally divided between seafood and meat, with at least one vegetarian entree. A guest was pleased with two double-rib lamb chops, colorfully presented on cheesy polenta, strewn with diced vegetables and moistened with a well-balanced demi-glacAc sauce. A last-minute special, consisting of a beef filet on a potato cake and topped with a crab cake, needed more than the demi-glacAc to pull the flavors together. Rockfish on shrimp risotto was topped with crisp, fried spinach, which added a needed texture and color to the dish.

The ambience at Pomegranate is casual but stylish and urban; the servers are knowledgeable and professional. Add some good food, an interesting person or two, and you've got a nice evening. — Davis Morton

Pomegranate Bistro
1209 East Cary Street
Lunch: Monday-Friday 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Dinner: Wednesday-Saturday 5:30-10 p.m.

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