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Jul 26, 2012 12:37 PM

Martinez: Just in, Beaver dam still there and Compass Star makes damn good corned beef and pastrami sandwiches.

Stopped in on tip from Chowhound scout and my wife enjoyed her pastrami better than Stag's. Corned beef was good too. Italian works as a sort of muffaletta. I got a taste of the house made spicy gabagool, very nice.

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  1. Thanks for the beaver check-in.

    Is the pastrami steamed until buttery soft? How would you compare the cure to the NY pastrami imported by Roberts that you cook at home?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      The taste my wife let me have was warm, soft and better tasting than my home warmed Roberts imported naval cut.

      1. re: wolfe

        Splendid! Sounds like whoever is keeping up the pastrami mapping for the Bay Area needs to add a flag in Martinez.

    2. My cousin and I headed off to Martinez for lunch. I know, Martinez usually brings images of jury duty or other legal activities. But with a high recommendation from a friend, off we went to The Compass Star.

      We walked up to the register and look at the handwritten boards. I ended up ordering the Mediterranean Salad, a roasted rosemary chicken with kalamata olives, organic baby tomatoes, cucumbers, romaine tossed in a balsamic dressing with crumbled feta cheese on top. I also ordered a cup of their split pea and sausage soup. My cousin ordered their house-made, hot cured pastrami sandwich. After we paid, we found a small table in the teeny dining space and squeezed in. There are five or six tables inside, mostly seating two (the tall tables seat three or more), but there are a few tables outside beneath some market umbrellas on the sidewalk.

      The sandwich looked amazing. Thick slices of juicy beef piled high on fresh marble rye bread. I did not taste her sandwich but she assured me that it was divine.

      I know, I know, I'm at a restaurant known for it's charcuterie and I order a salad - but it hit the spot for me. The cubed rosemary-scented chicken and crunchy salad greens was lightly dressed in a delicious light balsamic dressing.

      We finished up with an order of beignets served with a small ramekin of homemade berry jam, just enough to satisfy a sweet tooth before heading to the farmers market around the corner. After checking that out, we wandered down Main Street, poked our heads inside a couple of antique shops and walked off our overfull tummies before getting back in the car.

      This little cafe is only months old but it has a bright future. They offer catering services and have a fantastic looking menu on their website. They also offer a wine bar on some evenings and other events to draw you in.

      Go. Point your compass toward Martinez and navigate to The Compass Star. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

      3 Replies
      1. re: AntarcticWidow

        I've been wanting to hear about the beignets. Are they French or New Orleans style?

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I really don't know, I've only had them twice - here and at Brown Sugar Cafe. IIRC, Brown Sugar's beignets were relatively large and pillowy, maybe triangular or cone-shaped. The ones at Compass Star were a little smaller, squarish and more crusty, if you will. Both versions were well coated with powdered sugar (and cinnamon at Brown Sugar).

          Does that help?