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“You can never go wrong if you navigate by the NorthStar”
Review of North Star House

North Star House
Ranked #48 of 261 Restaurants in Ithaca
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $30
Cuisines: American
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Louisville, Kentucky
Level Contributor
105 reviews
88 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“You can never go wrong if you navigate by the NorthStar”
Reviewed June 11, 2013

A couple of years ago we ate at the Northstar Pub while we Ithaca visiting our daughter at college. I found a Restaurant.com coupon for this place, so we thought we’d give it a try, since local cuisine is always the best, and we loved it.

FAST FORWARD to May, 2013, and we were in Ithaca again (this time for our daughter’s college graduation) and there was one mandatory stop: The Northstar Pub. It was THAT good.

It’s a rather unassuming restaurant that is really off the beaten path…and is located in the middle of a residential area. We were told it used to be a part of a schoolhouse, which the front of the building makes you think of. The inside is nicely decorated, with pieces of what I’ll call “world art”. The walls are dark, but one entire wall is all windows. There is a very nice patio for nice-weather dining, and they have a great selection of local and hand-chosen beers on tap. They have quite a few pub tables in the dining room, and the soundtrack to your visit is a perfect mix of standards and world music.

And then there’s the steak. The New York Strip. Oh My God, what a steak! It’s not titled the New York Strip on the menu, but if you read the description, it’s there. It’s got some specialty name on the menu, but it’s a perfectly seasoned and cooked New York Strip, topped with bleu cheese and grilled jalapeño. It Is Delicious. It is AMAZINGLY Delicious. It Is So Delicious That I Remembered It Two Years Later. Yes, it was THAT good. It’s odd, too, because the server told us that they’d taken it off the menu for a while and had only added back about 2 weeks before our visit.

And by “Delicious” I mean THE BEST New York strip I have EVER eaten.

EVER.

(And before people who are fond of making dumb/obvious jokes/comments, YES, I know I was in the state of New York, but that has absolutely NO effect on the quality of the steak. Really. People who make comments like that should be slapped)

Of all the New York strips I’ve ever eaten, this one is at The Very Top of the list.

All of the meat and vegetables served at this eatery are obtained from local farmers. Freshness is of the essence at Northstar…one of the many reasons that this restaurant is so incredibly awesome.

Did I say the New York Strip was awesome? I’ve attached a photo to bear witness to the incredibleness of that steak.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank DJPlaZma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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83 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    35
    31
    11
    5
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Westwood
Level Contributor
22 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Where the locals eat”
Reviewed May 31, 2013

It's a neighborhood (literally) pub. East Fall Street is a residential street away from the downtown buzz but close enough that you can walk there. The restaurant is on the small side but they have a very nice patio. The food was very good and innovative without the pretense. They try to use locally grown ingredients which always means fresh and tasty. Great selection of beers. Some of the specialty drinks are named after lesser known Star Wars mentions (highly recommend Kessel Run) so brush up on your Star Wars trivia ! During college events, e.g. graduation weekend, they accept reservations, otherwise just drop by.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank sm94481
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Framingham, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
84 reviews
59 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“A local treasure”
Reviewed May 28, 2013

Came here with a graduation weekend party of eight and everyone loved it. Local ingredients make an eclectic menu - with something appealing for everyone - work beautifully. The veggie burger featuring a red bean patty with portabella mushrooms and avocado on a fresh Challah roll, BTW, was a great surprise. The restaurant was quite busy yet service was friendly and very efficient and every order was perfect. A beer menu that features many local brews was a nice touch, too. Right down the hill from Cornell with easy parking make this a local treasure.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank John T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ithaca, New York
Level Contributor
42 reviews
35 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“A local's favorite”
Reviewed May 24, 2013

As a pub, they always have an excellent selection of craft beers available, and a nice rotation of taps.
As a restaurant, there is great variety on the menu with an emphasis on organic & local foods and drinks, which is a big reason why it is a favorite spot for locals. There always seems to be a little something for everyone.
The vibe is laid back, the music is always great, and the atmosphere is pleasant. It can get a little boisterous or noisy if there is a small party, because the whole restaurant is quite small.
(They have two very pleasant outdoor seating areas during warmer months which adds a lot of space.)

My one critique is that I do find some of the menu to be overpriced. They have the best burger in town, but you'll pay for it. Otherwise this place would get 5 stars easy.
Service can be pretty slow some nights for such a small place, but again, that's because it is a very chill place, with lots of locals hanging and chatting with staff.

But if you are traveling through and looking for simple, delicious food, good atmosphere, and a great beer to match, I wouldn't think twice about recommending Northstar.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank SingingOwl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ithaca, New York
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Yummy Stuff!”
Reviewed April 8, 2013

These folks support local farmers which makes it stand out from other places. Fresh cut fries with dipping sauces is a fav of mine, but was off bit on my last visit. Too greasy or something. I had some great soup and my friend had the mac and cheese, always delish. I love this place. It has great ambience, a pub feel but not too boozy. My out of town friends love it.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank MollyBMolly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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