A New American Place

Paul Martin\'s American Grill PasadenaChefs Special Fried ChickenButcher\'s Board

By EDDIE RIVERA, Community Editor

4:02 pm | March 8, 2016


Joining a hearty list of eateries on Pasadena’s Lake Avenue, restaurateur Paul Fleming has opened his tenth Paul Martin’s location with a scratch-made menu of modern American comfort food.

The 7,200 square-foot restaurant is upscale casual with plenty of wood, plush seating, sophisticated and modern interiors, as well as a 900 square-foot outdoor dining space,

This was our first visit to the new establishment, drawn by the enticing fried chicken, though there is much on the menu to draw a discerning palate. The restaurant is adamant about its use of fresh ingredients, free-range meats and poultry, and sustainable fishery seafood.

Though we came for the fried chicken, we began with a charcuterie plate, from the restaurant’s own charcuterie station, one of only a few in Southern California. It featured fresh prosciutto, a small gathering of cheeses, some fresh olives, and a thin crispy garlic bread, among its offerings. We also shared the salt & pepper shrimp, which tastes just exactly like its name—large, meaty prawns, buttermilk battered with pesto aioli. They went quickly, as you might imagine.

Though everything caught our eye, we were there for the fried chicken, and it didn’t disappoint. The chicken, not overly large, is coated in buttermilk, and covered in a seasoned flour, and then fried. It’s meaty, and juicy with a hint of spice in there somewhere. It rests on a small mound of mashed potatoes, which, like the shrimp did a disappearing act of their own. You have to plan carefully, however. The fried chicken is only served on certain days in only certain of their locations. It’s Tuesdays in Pasadena, so you might want to mark your calendar.

There were two of us, and both having fried chicken didn’t seem so symmetrical, so my dining partner, opted for the short ribs, which were thick and hearty, like a candy bar made out of beef. We both made made short work of that also, as we animatedly pondered why anyone would ever want to be a vegan.

Chef Partner Mark Fitkowski’s menu also features a “Brick” Chicken with Free-Range Chicken Breast, mashed potatoes, Za’atar croutons and herb jus; a Cedar Plank Salmon with shallots and bacon, organic bloomsdale spinach and crimini mushroom jus; and a Devil’s Food Cake, which is, three layers with ganache made from Cordillera chocolate, Amarena Cherries and whipped cream.

We settled for the vanilla ice cream with lady fingers that comes with the fried chicken dinner, packed up a little box with what we couldn’t finish, and as I headed for the door, I could only think, happily, “And next time, the seafood.”

Paul Martin’s American Grill, 455 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena, (626) 773-7600 or visit paulmartinsamericangrill.com/locations/pasadena-restaurant.