Paul Martin’s American Grill is the latest restaurant to hit the Irvine Spectrum. After having two American “Bistro” locations in California, the masterminds behind Paul Martin’s decided to open a Grill concept in Irvine. The main difference between the Bistro and the Grill? The Grill will focus more on simpler dishes without all the extra sauces and dressings.
When I heard this restaurant was opening in Irvine, I was pretty excited. The menu and concept sounded exactly like the type of food I enjoy most. So when an offer was presented for me and a guest (the Englishman) to dine at the new Grill in Irvine prior to it’s opening, I leaped at the chance.
Walking inside the restaurant was like a breath of fresh air – a cool, sleek interior, open bar space, and a lounge/patio area with couches and chairs. One of the things I do miss from time to time are some of the awesome restaurants/lounges LA has to offer. After dining at Paul Martin’s however, it looks like the Irvine Spectrum finally has a hip, trendy restaurant that is not your typical suburb-chain fare.
Paul Martin’s American Grill prides themselves on serving locally grown, organic ingredients and you can definitely tell. All the food was extremely flavorful and I left eager to try out more of their dishes, which doesn’t happen too often at most restaurants I’ve been to. The waiters were also very knowledgeable when it came to where the meat and produce came from. Definitely a plus in my book.
To start, the Englishman and I decided to order a round of drinks and a Butcher’s Board with cheeses and artisan meats. I was feeling a bit fancy so I decided to order one of my favorite drinks, a dirty martini.
With the exception of Houston’s, it’s been hard to find a decent dirty martini in these parts. I must say that the one at Paul Martin’s was quite excellent. I definitely would’ve ordered another if I wasn’t the designated driver for the evening. As we sipped our drinks, we were presented with a lovely board of cheese and meat.
The Butcher’s Board had goat cheese, blue cheese, and a hard Italian cheese (I forgot the name) that tasted like Parmesan. The board also had olives, salami and prosciutto. All of it was quite delicious, especially the goat cheese which looked like it had been dipped in some sort of honey. Even the Englishman who is NOT a fan of goat cheese gobbled this one up. I noticed that most of the tables around us were also happily enjoying their Butcher’s Boards which made me think this is a must order when you dine at Paul Martin’s.
For my entree, I had a mad craving for a burger so I went with the Bistro Burger that came with Tillamook Cheddar Cheese, Black Pepper Aioli and Fries. When the burger first came out it was missing the melted cheddar cheese, but no matter. After profusely apologizing, the waiter took the burger back and brought it out with sizzling melted cheese in under three minutes.
The meat was flavorful and juicy and cooked to perfection. I haven’t had a burger this good in a long time so this was well worth the wait. The skinny fries on the side were seasoned nicely and the Englishman was more than willing to help me eat those.
Speaking of the Englishman, he decided to order the Market Fresh Fish that came with a grilled pineapple salsa and wild rice. The fish was seared beautifully and the Englishman loved the pineapple salsa and wild rice on the side. He happily cleaned his plate before helping me with my fries.
We both debated ordering dessert, but were so pleasantly full that we decided to pass it up this time. There were some delicious looking items on the menu including a Raspberry Creme Brulee that I am sure would be fantastic.
Overall, Paul Martin’s American Bistro definitely exceeded my expectations, and the Englishman and I agreed this place would definitely be in our regular rotation. So to all you O.C. locals, go check this place out NOW. You won’t be disappointed.
Paul Martin’s American Bistro
31 Fortune Drive Suite 302
Irvine, CA 92618