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

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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?