Lemongrass Bistro in Martinez
In addition to the John Muir National Historic Site and the family of beavers residing in Alhambra Creek downtown, Martinez now has an attraction an excellent restaurant on Main Street. My wife and I had a rapturous lunch last weekend at the Lemongrass Bistro. We enjoyed very light, delicate avocado rolls and lemongrass samosas as starters. The rolls, while similar to Vietnamese spring rolls, weren't as tightly wrapped and had perfectly ripe avocado slices instead of shrimp. We counted the other's eating of the rolls, to ensure that both of us got two each. The accompanying peanut sauce, like the other sauces throughout the meal, was less salty than the typical sauces, and paired perfectly. The deep fried samosas were also light, and had a very subtle curry taste in the potato filling. I got to eat three of the five of these crunchy delicacies. Next was the grilled eggplant salad, with both grilled eggplant and calamari. The eggplant was peeled after grilling, cut into pieces, and tossed along with the calamari, cucumber, cilantro, mint, ginger and lime juice. The combination of the ingredients was refreshing and tasteful. Next was the grilled beef plate, composed of grilled, marinated top sirloin, served along with grilled asparagus, green beans, and bell peppers. This dish's dipping sauce of lime, honey, cilantro, green bell pepper, and something spicy (black pepper? jalapeno?) was a revelation. My wife had the yellow curry chicken, and she noted the richness of the sauce from the coconut milk and the same subtle curry flavor in our samosas. We ended the meal, having lost any restraint, with a shared dessert of fresh mango alongside sticky rice blended with coconut milk. The mango was perfectly ripe, and each bite, with a bit of slightly gooey sweet rice, was irresistible. Next time we're coming in the evening with other family members, in order to taste more dishes. After dinner, we'll walk off our excess by viewing the family of beavers at dusk.
I had lunch here while trapped in Martinez for jury duty and it was good enough I opted to go back the second day. The food is fresh and well handled. I had Lemongrass Prawns and Drunken Noodles with pork. I ordered both dishes "hot, but not Thai hot." The lemongrass dish wasn't very spicy, but the noodle dish had a solid burn. I'll look for this place again next time I'm in Martinez.