Actually Pretty Awesome

Actually Pretty Awesome: Duck Pastrami at Murray Circle

The duck pastrami with whole grain mustard, sauerkraut, and watercress.
The duck pastrami with whole grain mustard, sauerkraut, and watercress. Photo: Courtesy of Murray Circle

There’s been a change of the guard up at Murray Circle, in case you weren’t aware, in which young chef Justin Everett has taken the helm from Joseph Humphrey, who is now working to open Dixie in the Presidio. Everett previously worked with Humphrey at Auberge du Soleil, and most recently had been executive chef at El Dorado Kitchen in Sonoma, and his style is more casual than Humphrey’s, with twists on bistro fare and some new charcuterie items that are made and/or smoked in house. One of those in particular caught our attention: the duck pastrami. It’s made from a Liberty Farms duck breast, raised in Petaluma, and Everett brines the breasts for two days with coriander, juniper, clove and other spices. “We’ve built a really cool smoker here at the restaurant,” he tells Grub Street. “Pretty much every day something’s going in there.”

That smoker — a modified commercial oven with a smoker attached — has clearly been put to good use lately, and the tender, flavorful and subtle duck pastrami is a testament to Everett’s skill with the thing.

It’s served it with a zingy house-made, whole-grain mustard, and house-fermented sauerkraut. Everett uses a mix of purple and white cabbage and cures it in salt, letting it ferment for about three weeks. Then he adds vinegar and fennel, and creates a deliciously acidic compliment to the spiced meat.

Also served on the plate are some delicious house-made rye croutons — the ones Michael Bauer complained in his review this week tasted stale, but ours were just fine.

We’d recommend trying more of Everett’s charcuterie as well the next time you’re up in Sausalito. Also, when the fog lifts, the view from over there can be pretty special.

Earlier on Actually Pretty Awesome:
The Date Night at Sneaky’s BBQ
Crab and Dumplings at Pican
The Fried-Chicken Sliders at The Lookout
Uncle’s Chicken Curry Tacos at Juhu Beach Club
Buttermilk Panna Cotta at SPQR
The Egg Sandwich at Blue Fig
Lolo’s Mexican- and Turkish-Influenced Small Plates
The Tripe and the Pickles at Bar Tartine
A Dinner of Small Plates at Frances
The Fondue Service at Fondue Cowboy
Brunch at Barndiva
Fried Chicken and Cornmeal Doughnuts at Beast & the Hare
Aaron London’s Take on Vichyssoise at Ubuntu

Actually Pretty Awesome: Duck Pastrami at Murray Circle