Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Night at Paul's - Part II (Paul Martin's American Bistro)

Read Part I of the review.

We had a lot of indecision about what to order, as everything seemed so tempting. The menu consisted of traditional American bistro food, but what set it apart from everyday was the care in preparation and the selection and careful use of local, seasonal ingredients.

As we slowly muddled over the our options I tried to covertly guide the table to selecting the manila clams, because damn it, I dig clams (get it? dig clams?). Anyways, we selected them and a plate of grilled castroville artichoke.

The manila clams were amazing. I mean, they were absolutely fantastic. They were served in a suace of garlic, white wine, chili flakes and herbs and as we ate the clams we sopped up every delicious, ambrosial drop with the bread. Personally, I never use herbs and usually flavor my clams by throwing in some chopped chorizo in with the wine and garlic, but now I want to try re-creating this at home.

The artichokes were delicious as well. They were lightly boiled (or was it marinated... the waiters and us had a good 10 minute discussion on artichoke preparation, which ended with us asking the chef for the recipe, but sadly we were denied our request; regardless...) with lemon and herbs then grilled over a mesquite charcoal grill, imbuing them with that tangy rustic smoke flavor. Served with some pesto and tarragon aiolis, why we were in heaven. I grew up with artichoke always being served with tarragon butter by my mom, so this was a twist on a childhood classic for me and made me so happy.

These were the small dishes, which were still quite descent; good portions, well prepared, very tasty. Not sure one of these could be a whole meal, but if you plan to eat lite then perfect. The larger plates are a bit more hearty.

As we waited for the larger dishes to arrive, we all sipped down a smoky and full Kelly Flemming Cab Sauv. There was another wine, but whatever it was it's gone from my head. I do suggest you try the cocktails. The vodkas are cured in house and are mixed very well. Like candy. We had a delicious pear based cocktail. They did have one called The Hemmingway which I refused to drink as I hate his writing *insert all the other English Grad students collective gasp* but again this is a personal thing.

I ordered the skirt steak with roasted maple-bourbon sweet potatoes and arugula. Deliciously and well prepared steaky-bits, perfectly medium-rare. The potatoes were delicious and sweet. The arugula... not peppery enough but then again if it were too peppery, it might have taken from the steak.

The mushroom burger Elise had was tasty. Three kinds of mushrooms pressed delicately into a patty and served on a tasty burger with pesto mayo. Very earthy and had a nice taste of mushrooms with their musky odor. The fries were string cut and salted. You've had them before, but still yummy.

Ashley had the salmon with some caramelized onions. The salmon had been cooked on a cedar plant and had taken on a nice subtle, woody taste. Nothing I would order, but I prefer a stronger flavoring to my fish if I'm going to flavor it at all.The desserts were fantastic as well. The sorbet and ice cream are made in house. I had a delicious pear sorbet served with some homemade shortbread cookies. The sorbet was sweet and resounded of pear. The banana cream pie was a delicious with layers of bananas and vanilla bean pastry cream though had a very hard crust, lined with chocolate, which proved difficult to cut through with a fork sending a piece flying off the table. Still, it was like a party in your mouth and everyone's invited. =)

Overall, a delicious and fantastic experience. I look forward to going back again and again and again. Be sure to check out Paul Martin's, it's just too damn fabulous not too.


  1. That skirt steak was the best I've ever had. I'm ordering it the next time I go. Not that the mushroom burger wasn't good, it was, but the steak was out of this world.

    So glad you used the shot I took of you and Ashley, cute!

  2. Really good review G. I enjoyed both parts very much. Thanks!

  3. Its nice to finally see a face behind the awesome posts.


Hey, you're leaving a comment! That's pretty darn cool, so thanks. If you have any questions or have found an error on the site or with a recipe, please e-mail me and I will reply as soon as possible.