Paul Martin's American Bistro - Irvine
31 Fortune Drive, Suite 302
As many of you have heard, Paul Martin's American Grill has opened at the Irvine Spectrum. Paul Martin's in the latest restaurant from Paul Fleming, the creator of both the P.F. Changs and Fleming's chains. Paul Martin's focuses on the "super trendy right now" idea of using organic, local, sustainable food.
I was invited down to sample the happy hour menu at Paul Martin's with a bunch of other foodies. The happy hour menu is available
I decided to sample the lemon drop ($4 happy hour). The drink was well made and very visually appealing. Other $4 happy hour cocktails include a raspberry martini, a cosmo and a mojito. V really liked the raspberry martini.
The first appetizer that was brought out is called "Smoked Chicken & Wings" ($4 happy hour/$8 regular price). The dish included both bite-size pieces of chicken and bone-in chicken wings. The chicken was smoked and then fried until the skin was perfectly crispy. This chicken was amazing. The smokiness of the meat paired with the perfect crunchy exterior made for a perfect munchable appetizer. I can totally see myself eating 2 or 3 plates of this during a happy hour trip to the restaurant. The chicken was also served with some sort of chipotle aioli dipping sauce that was very good as well.
Next came the "street tacos" ($4 happy hour/unavailable on regular menu). The tacos were made with homemade corn tortillas topped with braised and shredded shortrib meat. They also put a squirt of the chipotle aioli on them. This tied with the chicken wings for my favorite dish of the night. The beef was tender and bursting with flavor. The tacos came with diced julienned radishes and a wedge of lemon dipped in coarse salt. These two things really added a "pow" factor to the tacos.
Next up were the chicken skewers and the steak skewers ($4 chicken/$8 steak happy hour). I was pretty disappointed in both of these dishes. The meat was bland, boring and generic. I don't think I'd order either of these. No one else seemed to be a big fan of these dishes either.
This is a picture of the smoked salmon lettuce cups that came out next ($4.00 happy hour). I don't like smoked salmon, so I didn't try them. Other people said they were pretty good though. The smoked salmon was creamed and topped with slices of apple.
The BBQ rib plate ($8 happy hour) came with four meaty ribs and was served with a carolina style slaw. The ribs were very tender and tasty. The sauce had a strong vinegary kick but was also delicious. I wish the sauce had been a little spicier, but I did love the tang.
Our final savory item for the night was the Fried Chicken with Fries ($8 happy hour). This dish was very disappointing. Not only was it a tiny portion for the price, but the chicken was burnt and flavorless. I would much rather have two plates of the chicken wings instead of one order of this chicken.
To top off the evening we were served housemade shortbread cookies. I'm told that the cookies are usually served with their housemade ice cream. the cookies were tender, flaky and full of buttery goodness. I could eat a few plates of these.
Overall I was very pleased with the selection and prices for Paul Martin's happy hour. This is definitely a place to keep in mind if you are in the area between 3-7 PM. I can't wait to return to Paul Martin's to try their full dinner menu.