Dining: enjoying an American classic

Above: Braised Short Ribs at Paul Martin's American Grill. Restaurants | 1 Jan, 2017 |

It’s not often that you go to a restaurant and each dish tops the preceding dish in deliciousness.

Paul Martin’s American Grill accomplishes that task.

The degree of deliciousness may be attributable to the fact that Paul Martin’s focuses on seasonal ingredients, so the dishes are always vibrant and fresh. Paul Martin’s is committed to using local produce, sustainable fisheries, free-range and natural meats, artisanal cheeses and house-infused spirits.

Paul Martin’s recently revamped menu features hearty soup selections (speaking of which: make sure you order the Wild Mushroom Soup because it’s amazeballs), several new entrees, delightfully comforting desserts and a wide variety of handcrafted cocktails.

What makes the dishes taste even better is Paul Martin’s contemporary ambience that is hipster cool without the ironic beards. It’s the perfect place to take your significant other for date night, meet your friends for happy hour or meet colleagues to talk business.

It’s not surprising that Paul Martin’s is a winner because it’s the brainchild of Paul Fleming, who has defined Arizona’s dining scene for decades. Fleming operated Ruth’s Chris Steakhouses for 12 years and developed P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and Pei Wei Asian Diner.

In Paul Martin’s, Fleming wanted to create a restaurant that serves classic comfort foods with an upscale and contemporary twist, but offered at accessible prices. Fleming has succeeded.

Everything on the menu — even the desserts — is prepared from scratch. The chefs at Paul Martin’s even do their own butchering. And that pride in preparation shows in a few of the must-try menu items:

The Cedar Plank Steelhead ($27) — fresh salmon, shallots and bacon, organic spinach and crimini mushroom jus — might just be the best fish dish in the Valley.

“Brick” Chicken ($24) — free-range chicken, mashed potatoes, za’atar croutons and herb jus — was as tender, juicy and packed with flavor as any chicken dish you will ever have.

Hoison Marinated Boneless Pork Chops ($28) is served with sugar snap peas, shiitake mushrooms, ginger and garlic. None of those items will be left on your plate because you’ll want to finish every morsel of food.

Braised Short Ribs ($27) with mashed potatoes, horseradish cream and beef jus might as well be home-churned butter because that’s how it melts in your mouth amid an explosion of tastiness. This will likely be your favorite dish on the menu, because it’s already everyone else’s.

Besides the Wild Mushroom Soup, some suggested starters are the Salt & Pepper Shrimp, Chicken Tortilla Soup and Kale Caesar Salad.

The desserts — particularly the Devil’s Food Cake and the Banana Cream Pie — were the perfect ending to an extraordinary dining experience. Beyond the exceptional food is a drink menu that features 75 wines by the glass and cocktails that make Paul Martin’s happy hour — which is served in the bar and on the patio every day from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. — one of the most popular in Scottsdale.

The Paul Martin’s mantra is “seasonal and delicious.” They deliver on that promise … and add too many bonuses to count along the way to a more than satisfied belly.

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