Friday, February 7, 2014

Restaurant Review: Paul Martin's American Grill

Paul Martin's American Grill - dinner on January 24, 2014
I had never heard of Paul Martin's American Grill before but one of my coworkers mentioned it and when I looked up their website and saw how they sourced responsibly for their menu (sustainable fisheries, free-range meats, artisan cheeses), I wanted to try it. I like to support small businesses and I'm also trying to support the ones who source locally and responsibly whenever I can. It may not seem like much but if I'm going to eat out and spend money anyway, I want to support what I believe in as much as possible.
In a nutshell, I would call Paul Martin's a steakhouse but they offer more than just steaks. You can get seafood, chicken, salads, burgers and ribs as well as steaks. Like a traditional steakhouse, the lighting inside is pretty dim. I think every steakhouse I've ever been in has had low lighting. It's pretty spacious, er, at least what you can see of it in the dim light. Their Mountain View location offers valet service but honestly, save yourself a few bucks and just park in the nearby garage. That's where the valets park your car anyway and there was plenty of parking when I went on a Friday night.
I tried to book a reservation on Open Table but they didn't have any spots available so my friend Karen and my cousin Ellen and I took a chance and just arrived early. The hostess said she could seat us but that we'd have to be done by 6:30. We had gotten there around 5:15 so while it was a little off-putting to be put on a timer, it wasn't a big deal to plan on getting out in less than 75 minutes.

They brought out a bread basket which the waiter, when asked, said they truck down since they don't have a bakery onsite. The inside part was good but the crust was a little chewy, leading me to believe the bread was probably delivered freshly made that morning but as the day wears on and the crust softens, it's not as fresh as it could be.
Marinated Skirt Steak with sweet potatoes and arugula - $24
I ordered the marinated skirt steak with sweet potatoes and arugula. I have to say, it was fabulous. The skirt steak, cooked medium, wasn't super tender but it wasn't tough either, just the right amount of chewy for a steak. The marinade was delicious and the fresh arugula, unadorned with dressing (thank you) made me feel virtuous since I actually ate it. But the best part of the dish? The sweet potatoes. I think they were actually Japanese sweet potatoes because they were white-fleshed yet still tasted like sweet potatoes but with a slightly more firm texture. Delicious.
Fish Tacos - $17
Karen got the fish tacos with the homemade flour tortillas. Unfortunately I don't think she enjoyed her order as much as I enjoyed mine. The "homemade" description had led her to believe the tortillas would be thinner but they were thick. Ellen also wasn't overly impressed with her salmon, finding it a little dry. I think they found their entrees okay but nothing to write about. Whereas I could probably wax on a little longer about my skirt steak and sweet potatoes. But I won't.
Cedar Plank Salmon - $25
Paul Martin's is a little on the pricier side but I expected that given their focus on sourcing sustainably and using fresh, seasonal ingredients. For once, we didn't get dessert. They had 4 offerings for $9 each but nothing appealed to us and, aware of our time limit, we decided not to bother since it was approaching 6:30 and our table was going to turn into a pumpkin for us and into a coach for the next patrons. Instead, we decided to head to Smitten's for ice cream (stay tuned).

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