Here’s why you will like new Paul Martin’s American Grill

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New to Dallas, Paul Martin’s American Grill hails from Newport Beach, California, and the braintrust behind P.F. Chang’s and Fleming’s Steakhouse. But don’t let that sway you, because Paul Martin’s is laser-focused at the same crowd that favors Houston’s and values quality over quantity.

“Everything is made from scratch,” Paul Martin’s exec chef told me at a recent private lunch. “The meats are all sourced from ‘never ever’ animals, so they’re antibiotic and hormone free, the pastas are all fresh and we use only the best quality ingredients we can find.”

Your pesceterian friends will love the swimmingly fresh Texas redfish (blackened then sauced with tart lemon butter) and salmon (smoked or roasted then anointed with meyer lemon vinaigrette). If you’re entertaining a meat lover, you won’t go wrong with the skirt steak glazed with maple syrup and bourbon, or the free range Georgia chicken cooked al matone —under a brick — so it emerges from the hot oven with crispy, crackly skin and juicy meat. Burgers are constructed from freshly ground Angus beef and black pepper aioli then sandwiched inside pillowy buns baked in Los Angeles and whisked to Paul Martin’s.

But to be honest, some of the kitchen’s best efforts appear at the bookends of the meal. Cocktails are shaken, stirred and muddled with care. The chocolate ice cream, served as part of a trio of flavors, is sticky and chewy and altogether delicious, the result of employing an egg-rich custard base and deep, dark Colombian chocolate.

I had low expectations for this dark-wood, tall-ceilinged, open-kitchen California interloper. But now that I’ve eaten there, I’m sold. The southern edge of Highland Park is lucky to have this neighborhood gem.

3848 Oaklawn Ave., Ste 210, Dallas, 214-521-0116.