A Sneak Peek At Paul Martin's

We had the opportunity to explore Paul Martin's (American Grill) Orange County debut at the Irvine Spectrum yesterday. All hands were on deck for final preparations: servers practiced their wine recommendations, chef Brian Bennett examined both back and front of the house operations, even Mr. Paul Fleming himself worked on preview details. Yes, Monday the 14th can't come soon enough.

Some of the aesthetics we were enamored by included their 80s/90s soundtrack, spacious bar area, and free wifi!

If that's not enough to excite 30-somethings, then maybe the dual outlets underneath a number of their booths will certainly spark lunchtime meetings and rampant smart phone charging. Kudos to an establishment that acknowledges embraces technology. The better to draft those Yelp reviews?

Featuring a New American menu of familiar classics, items that stood out included their 3-course dinner for $30; your choice of salad, main (including the grilled salmon pictured), and dessert. The weekly menu also includes different 3-courses for Sunday supper. Our money is on the Pitman farms fried chicken, organic baby lettuce salad and hot blondies with vanilla ice cream for $22. Their mantra of “Eat organic. Believe in sustainable. Buy local.” easily sums up their desire to utilize local purveyors, also evident in their wine list options.

Prime real estate includes an outdoor lounge lined with couches and the sleek Wine Room, reminding us of the private dining spaces at Fox Sports Grill. Our visit ended on a sweet note as Ramy (a lead trainer) insisted we sample Bennett's own recipe for devil's food cake. It was a particularly dense motherlode of triple-layered, Valhrona ganache, garnished with sour cherries and whipped cream. On that gluttonous note, we slowly step away from dessert and wish them well.

Paul Martin's is located at 31 Fortune Dr., Irvine. (949) 453-1144. www.paulmartinsamericangrill.com.

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