I’m sure this will come as a shock to everyone: Dallas is several thousand miles from both the Amalfi Coast and villages in the South of France. Therefore, some things in the way of cuisine must be eliminated from our list of items that inspire delight. However, we do have much to be grateful for, including Paul Martin’s American Grill — a new addition to the Dallas restaurant scene, circa July 9. It shimmers with reliably delicious food and cocktails, and its broad array of offerings will please a broad range of palates and preferences.
Paul Martin’s restaurants (including seven locations in California and one in Scottsdale) are known for preparing fresh and seasonal ingredients “simply and well” at a price point that doesn’t incur sticker shock. While the local restaurant’s ambiance has a sleek and upscale flair, it retains a thoroughly “user friendly” vibe, and the staff is both attentive and professional. It admirably showcases the very best of what can be done with a broad, well-planned menu informed by a distinctly American cant.
One highlight of the dinner menu is a Butcher’s Board of cured meats and local cheese, including Point Reyes aged blue, Pachi Pachi Botalon, Pachi Pachi Chivo Viejo, La Quercia prosciutto and coppa and Creminelli salame al tartufo — all of which are nicely paired with olives, tart peppers and Marcona almonds. I have also heard that the salt-and-pepper shrimp, lightly fried and served with pesto aioli, is top-notch, as is the Town Dock calamari, which is lightly breaded and served with chili aioli and a house cocktail sauce.
When it comes to entrées, there’s ribeye, quail, skirt steak, blackened redfish and cedar plank aalmon. The latter is a large, perfectly cooked piece of salmon prepared with shallots and bacon, with organic Bloomsdale spinach and Crimini mushroom jus. It’s a fabulous second attraction after a butter lettuce salad, which is punctuated with blue cheese, candied walnuts, apples and maple vinaigrette. A less fulsome grilled salmon prepared with Meyer lemon vinaigrette and served with a chilled quinoa and bulgar wheat salad also got high marks in this new iteration of Olympiad dining competitions. Additionally, the kale Caesar salad (baby kale, parmesan, wild white anchovies, house-made Caesar dressing and croutons) should not be missed.
For less formal dining, Paul Martin’s Bistro Burger is a juggernaut of natural Angus, black pepper aioli, hardwood smoked bacon, mushrooms and a choice of Tillamook cheddar or blue cheese. Choose that or Hoisin Marinated Pork Chop, double cut and served with sautéed Brussels sprouts and bacon vinaigrette.
You get the idea. The era of “Cuisine Minceur” is long gone, and we’re now given ample options of dishes that require several hours of training at Equinox (located across the street) to work off the caloric lode.
Which brings us to the topic of dessert. We recommend the lemon crème brûlée — lemon-infused vanilla bean crème with shortbread cookies — or homemade ice cream. Save us now.
And, let us not forget the cocktails. With inventive bacchanalian splendor, they come in every configuration — some with herbs, berries, infusions, lemon and mint — and are delivered on the rocks or straight up. The list is long.
Paul Martin’s may not have the unexpected delights of a trattoria in Italy, but right this red-hot second, who cares? 3848 Oak Lawn Ave, Suite 210, 214.521.0116. Please note: Dinner, lunch and brunch are now being offered.