A kitchen where everything is made from scratch — even the ice cream and tortillas — 70 wines by the glass, and high-quality ingredients are a few of the hallmarks of Paul Martin’s American Grill, newly opened on Lake Avenue in Pasadena. This restaurant is all about sustainability and seasonality. Insisting on fresh, in-season produce, Paul Martin’s uses only all-natural, free-range chicken, while they serve only Never Ever beef (from cows that have never ingested hormones or antibiotics) and sustainable seafood.
The emphasis here, as might be inferred from the name, is on grilled items, simply but thoughtfully prepared and made with high-quality ingredients. Flavorful vegetables, meats and seafood grilled over mesquite or cedar are among the most popular items on the menu.
Wine is an important component of this restaurant. Aside from the aforementioned 70 wines served by the glass — and these are generous, seven-ounce pours — there’s also an extensive, well-curated selection of around 200 quality wines sold by the bottle.
What to Eat: Savory braised short ribs au jus, with horseradish cream atop a bed of mashed potatoes. Chimichurri Chicken served with wild-mushroom farro, rich cipollini onion, and Bloomsdale spinach. Skirt steak marinated with maple-bourbon glaze, accompanied by grilled sweet potatoes and lightly dressed arugula. A perfect butter lettuce salad, topped with Point Reyes blue cheese, candied walnuts, apples, and maple vinaigrette. Salmon grilled over mesquite and topped with Meyer lemon vinaigrette.
What to Drink: Aside from wine, there are around 20 superior beers to select from, among them Dupont Saison and Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier. Or try a cocktail, like the Lemon Ginger Punch, merging Pussers Aged rum with Domaine de Canton, fresh lemon juice, cane syrup and Angostura bitters; the Peligroso Blanco Margarita, made with Peligroso Blanco tequila and housemade sweet and sour; or the House Champagne Lemonade: Piper Sonoma bubbly with house-infused meyer lemon vodka, lemon juice, and fresh basil.
Sweet Finish: Try the decadent Devil’s Food Cake with Cordillera chocolate ganache and Amererna cherries (a heavenly import from Italy, these cherries are similar to Luxardos); the Banana Cream Pie, incorporating layers of vanilla bean pastry cream, bananas, and chocolate; or the house-made ice cream in flavors like salted caramel or raspberry.
Other Reasons to Visit: Who isn’t a fan of daily happy hour? From 3 to 7pm, you can choose from eight cocktails (among them a Maker’s Mark Manhattan or Meyer Lemon Drop), 12 wines by the glass, a draft beer or a selection of small bites for as little as $5. The St. Louis-style pork ribs with house made pesto slaw and the moist flavorful house-smoked salmon on grilled crostini with horseradish cream are particularly noteworthy.
Paul Martin’s American Grill is located at 455 S. Lake Ave. in Pasadena. Their phone is 626.773.7600.