Taste | Paul Martin’s American Grill
By: Chef Alex Rivas
As I pulled up to Victoria Gardens, it brought back memories of my younger days. I remembered meeting up with my group of friends and hopping from bar to bar trying out all the different atmospheres and drinks the area had to offer. I drove through the outdoor mall and spotted the new Paul Martin’s American Grill in the north-east corner. I had heard some chatter about Paul Martin’s, so I quickly parked and headed over to give it a try.
I walked in and found the ambience to be modern—the dim lighting was not too dark with a beautiful long bar station, as well as great communal sitting for celebratory nights with friends or family. I was greeted by Sara, our server, who had a great smile and personality that made the night even more enjoyable. She was very informative and passionate about the fare that the restaurant had to offer. We learned that Paul Martin’s takes every detail to heart, from the house infused spirits, to the onsite butcher, organic meats, wild caught seafood and lemons with no seeds. They truly take time and passion into every little aspect of your night.
After learning about how Paul Martin’s is also a conscious establishment, using seasonal and fresh local ingredients on their menu, we had an idea of what we wanted to try out. With the help of Sara, who shared both her recommendations and those of the chef, we picked out dishes that make Paul Martin’s refreshingly different from other restaurants in the area. I chose to try out the Butcher’s Board and the Salt and Pepper Wild Prawns for our appetizer course. With a butcher in-house, how could I say “no” to the locally selected cheeses and cured artisan meats? The truffle salami paired beautifully with the almonds. Prosciutto melted in my mouth and was a contrasting compliment to the creamy goat cheese. I enjoyed the Butcher’s Platter and was soon overcome by the fragrance of the simply seasoned prawns.
The prawns are caught wild, shipped fresh, and then cooked to perfection. From the first bite, it took me back to one of my favorite Peruvian restaurants—they were battered beautifully and paired fantastically with the pesto aioli. The pesto aioli had a nice tang to it and a creamy texture that I could have taken home and put on almost anything. I washed it all down with my palate pleasing Champagne Lemonade that was mixed with the in-house infused vodka and bright basil.
Another drink that came out with the appetizers was the Meyer Lemon Drop. The sugared rim of this ombre yellow to blue drink made the first half of the drink overpowered with candied sweetness, which faded away to expose the powerful taste of the house infused meyer lemon vodka and Joseph Cartron triple sec. With good reason the sugared rim overpowered the alcohol taste, because Paul Martin’s has another unique quality—their cocktails have 2oz shots instead of just one, doubles for everyone!
From there I indulged into our entrées. I chose to go with the Braised Short Ribs, because you can always tell the skills of a chef by how their braised dish comes out. Anyone that has made a braised dish knows that it takes multiple cooking techniques, time and attention to detail. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised when the chef encouraged us to order this dish—apparently he thought his six day preparation method would prove worthy. With all that said, the Braised Short Ribs did not disappoint—melted in my mouth and cooked to perfection. Served expertly with fluffy mashed potatoes, horseradish cream and beef jus, this dish leaves you speechless until the last bite.
My guest on this tasting was a vegetarian, so we tried one of the many meatless options that Paul Martin’s offers. Our lovely server Sara recommended the Grilled Polenta, which is currently being served with sautéed seasonal vegetables, roasted red pepper cream and fresh parmesan. As it was presented to us, we couldn’t help but notice the amazingly bright color and spectacular aroma of the dish. You could easily confuse the Grilled Polenta for a nice piece of grilled salmon. Overall, it was alluring to all the senses as the taste followed through with its top-notch presentation. Although it wasn’t fish or meat, as a carnivore I would go back just for the seasonal polenta dish anytime.
Aside from the amazing Homemade Ice Cream that consisted of one scoop of each gingerbread, vanilla and rich chocolate ice cream with shortbread cookies, we also enjoyed every bite of the Pear Huckleberry Crisp. My guest finished her night with a refreshing Raspberry Martini, which was also mixed with Paul Martin’s house infused raspberry vodka. I ended the night with a strong but balanced Classic Mojito, and as I sipped and cleansed my palate, I reflected upon all the dishes we had that night.
Paul Martin’s American Grill has more to offer than the eye can see. The time that they take to create a decadent night can really be appreciated during the meal. From the house infused spirits to the bussers, who come in early just to de-seed your lemons, one will feel catered to at Paul Martin’s. Considering it is one of the only restaurants that gives you a two ounce portion in your spirited drinks and Paul Martin’s fresh, organic and seasonal menu, I now see why this restaurant is well known. I also know I will be going back soon, especially as the seasons change.
Chef Alex Rivas is a successful personal chef and caterer who passionately creates dishes for individuals and events throughout the Inland Empire and beyond. We are beyond excited to welcome Alex and his expertise to our team. Stay tuned for more insightful tastes and recommendations from Chef Alex Rivas at IEShineOn.com, and to find out more about Alex's Personal Chef Service click here.