What better way to end the day than sipping on a cocktail and watching the sun melt into the sea over St. Thomas?
At the new Compass Rose Restaurant, formerly known as Pastory Gardens, customers can do just that and more — like enjoy a variety of delectable cuisine and play on the lush miniature golf course.
New managers Wally Rankin and Anna Adams took over the restaurant and golf course on November 1, and are now putting their own stamp on the three-year-old establishment.
Rankin, who comes with more than 12 years of experience in a variety of restaurants including the prestigious Heritage Grill on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, heads up the kitchen while Adams, who has extensive experience and most recently manned the bar at Skinny Legs, runs the front of the house.
The pair have been friends for years and have talked about opening their own place as long as they’ve known each other.
Having Their Own Identity
“We heard this place was available and we’d always talked about opening our own restaurant together,” said Rankin about taking over at the former Pastory Gardens.
The duo knew a few things they definitely wanted to change once they took over the reigns at the restaurant, and the name was one.
“We just loved the name Compass Rose, which was the original name of the restaurant, but everyone called it Pastory Gardens,” said Adams. “Once we took over, we wanted to have our own identity, so we went back to using Compass Rose.”
The name is not the only difference taking shape at the restaurant and golf course. Rankin is redesigning the menu and while the change will be gradual, the difference is already apparent.
Caribbean Seafood Emphasis
“I will keep the old favorites like the nachos and dips and wings,” Rankin said. “But the menu will be more Caribbean seafood oriented. Although I will have my steaks that I’m know for as well.”
The pair will also offer a kid’s menu, which coincides with yet another area of variation at Compass Rose.
“We wanted to make a point to be more family-oriented,” said Adams. “We want to give parents the chance to have a nice, relaxing meal and give the kids a chance to play golf and enjoy food they like.”
Draw for Everyone
The family feel at the restaurant will not preclude the younger or single crowd, Rankin added.
“While our emphasis will be on family, we are catering to locals, younger crowds and singles too,” Rankin said. “We have a big screen TV for sporting events and a happy hour Monday through Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m.”
New awnings, which should be installed shortly, will be an obvious difference that one can’t help but notice, and feel.
“We are so excited for the awnings,” said Adams. “Not just for the shade during the afternoons, but to keep the rain out. They are really going to make a difference.”
With plenty of parking and space capable of serving more than 130 guests, Compass Rose is also a perfect place for receptions and parties.
Private Parties Welcome
“We have so much room and the one thing that you usually have to worry about is parking, but you don’t have to worry about that up here,” said Rankin. “With all our seating we’re able to cater to any number of functions, receptions and parties.”
While the restaurant is currently open for dinner seven nights a week, Compass Rose will soon be a favorite lunch spot too.
Lunch Hours Coming Soon
“We’re going to open for lunch starting December 1,” said Adams. “We’ll serve lunch from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. and the golf course will be open then too.”
While a number of things are different at Compass Rose, the prices will remain affordable, Rankin explained.
“Golf prices are not changing,” said Rankin. “We don’t want to become a ball park where you can’t afford to bring your kids. It will still be $8 for adults and $6 for kids to play golf.”
Although Rankin has tweaked the dinner menu, prices are not out of anyone’s budget.
Old Favorites, New Options
Favorite appetizers, ranging from $7 to $12, like crab and artichoke dip, nachos and hot wings are still available. New options like the pan sauteed crab cake medallions served with chipotle tartar sauce should not be missed.
Entrees, hovering between $14 and $28, include some old favorites and one of Rankin’s famous steak dishes, which he was known for while cooking at Island Blues.
Sticking with Steaks
Smoked shrimp with pineapple salsa, Wally’s 16-ounce New York Strip Steak grilled with either a raspberry teriyaki or traditional trilogy of olive oil, salt and pepper and beer battered mahi mahi with chipotle tartar sauce are some highlights on the reinvented dinner menu at Compass Rose.
Salad options, which range from $8 to $14, include traditional garden greens and a thai peanut chicken salad with rice noodles and a house-made basil vinaigrette.
For those looking for something a bit lighter, sandwiches are also available during dinner hours. Priced between $8 and $12, choose from burgers, flying fish, a panko breaded and fried crispy chicken or soft shell crab.
To wash all that down, don’t forget to check out the list of specialty drinks at Compass Rose which include a peanut butter bushwhacker, a surf and turf bloody mary served with a cocktail shrimp and beef jerky or an electric lemonade made with vodka, blue curacao and lemonade.
The restaurant opens from 4 to 10 p.m. nightly and dinner service starts at 5 p.m. Rankin will prepare a variety of specials every night as well.
Don’t expect the changes to end any time soon, Rankin and Adams have a number of ideas that will take form as the high season continues into full swing.
Gaming for Adults
“In the future we’re looking at having more gaming for adults,” said Adams. “We have a pool table and the virtual golf and we’re looking at expanding that area to be a kind of an adults game room.”
For anyone looking for a perfect place to watch the sunset, enjoy a great meal and play a round of miniature golf, Compass Rose Restaurant is the place to be. The restaurant is located one mile up Centerline Road from Cruz Bay and has plenty of parking.
Right now the restaurant is open from 4 to 10 p.m. But don’t forget about lunch at Compass Rose starting on December 1, when the kitchen will open from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. as well.
For reservations or to book a private party, call 777-3147.
Chef Wally shares his wonderful recipe for Crab Cake Medallions:
Crab Cake Medallions
1 pound crab claw meat
1 1/2 cups panko, Japanese bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seafood seasoning
2 whole eggs
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 lemons, cut into 1-inch slices
3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
In a large mixing bowl add the eggs and Old Bay and whisk until well beaten. Add the mayonnaise to the egg mixture and whisk until all the mayo and eggs are smooth with no lumps.
Using a spatula, slowly add the panko to the egg/mayo and mix until the mixture is fairly firm but not too runny. Cover and let sit for at least 20 minutes in the refrigerator so the egg/mayo is absorbed into the panko.
While the mixture is resting, open the crab meat, press the loose top against the meat and press all the water out. The object is to have fairly dry crab meat.
After the panko/egg mixture is tight, slowly fold the crab meat into the mixture until well mixed. We want the crab meat as a whole as possible, but also well mixed.
Heat up a saute pan with just enough oil to cover the bottom. Do not over heat the pan. Form the crab mixture into 2-inch medallions and place into the hot oil and saute, checking the bottom until lightly browned. Flip the medallions and repeat. A hint is to use a high heat spatula to turn the cakes over as they are going to be delicate. Lay the finished cakes on paper towels and keep warm in the oven.
Serve with a slice of lemon and enjoy!