Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Paul Martin's American Bistro Grand Opening

As we had a good friend in town last night we decided to take him to Paul Martin's American Bistro where we went for the soft opening last Friday (read my review here). This was their first night open to the public and we thought it would be a great opportunity to try out the dinner menu.
We originally had reservations for 7:15 pm, and because we were awaiting a third party we had to change the time. Though they were booked up, the staff was very accommodating to our needs and demonstrated first rate service.

At arrival we sat down in the bar while waiting for our friend to arrive. I was very pleased to see that they had quite a few wines by the glass and not afraid to put some more pricey wines in that category as well. We ordered the Sonoma Coast Vineyards, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($19), as we had this a while back and really enjoyed it (read my review here). A new bottle was opened for us, and we were not disappointed by our choice. A nice touch is that wines by the glass are served in a small carafe on the side and you fill up your glass as needed.
The wine list over all has a relatively small selection (they all fit on one page), but they are well chosen with something for every wallet. The only negative with the wine list is that it does not display vintages. As someone who knows a little bit about wine I am very interested to know whether I will be receiving a 2002 or 2005... Of course you can ask, but I just prefer to know upfront as I am looking at the wine list, and making my decision.

As our friend arrived we were seated and I ordered a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon that was new to me, Kelly Fleming 2004 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($94). Kelly Fleming is the wife of Paul Fleming (one of the founders of the restaurant) and as I did some research today I found the following facts: The grapes are organically grown on a 12 acre site in Napa Valley with Jim Barbour as the vineyard manager. He is very experienced and highly regarded, and the list of vineyards in Napa Valley he is working with is never ending. Celia Welch Masyczek, formerly of Staglin Family Vineyards, is the consulting winemaker, and works with a limited clientele in Napa Valley such as two other favorites of mine, Hollywood and Vine Cellars, and Husic Vineyards. 500 cases was made of this wine and it is available at the wineries website for $85.
From my mental notes this wine displays a dark ruby color in the glass with hints of purple. The nose displays dark, ripe fruit and berries with notes of fresh bread and vanilla. The dark berries carries on to the palate with dark cherry, blackberry, black currant, vanilla and a slightly earthy note. Great acidity and young, firm, but still lush, tannins. I was pleasantly surprised by this wine and really enjoyed it. This is a new favorite added to my list of wines that I will keep my eyes open for in the future.

On to the food. We started with a Butcher's Board ($9.95 per person) for the table that consisted of an orange and fennel salami, pork tenderloin, a third cold cut, Point Reyes blue cheese, a soft Laura Chenel goat cheese drizzled with olive oil, a semi firm aged Gouda, olives, caper berries and whole grain mustard. Well put together and a great start to the meal.
We tried two new entrees not reviewed in my last post. My husband had the New York Steak with Fries and Zinfandel Butter ($29.95). The steak was cooked as ordered, nicely marbled, juicy and had a great flavor. The fries were short of fantastic, crisp almost all the way through, just slightly soft in the center, and perfectly seasoned with salt and parsley.
I had the Mesquite Grilled Tuna with Tomato and Olive Salsa ($19.95), and sauteed yellow and green beans. This was a very fresh dish that felt light and healthy. The quality and cut of tuna was great, and the flavor paired very well with the tomato and olive salsa. The beans just lightly sauteed with a nice crunch to them.
For dessert we had the same dessert as Friday, the Devil's Food Cake ($6.75) and the Pear and Huckleberry Crisp ($6.75). The Devil's food cake has less ganache in the layers this time which was an improvement, but as a true chocoholic I still missed that really intense dark chocolate flavor that I personally prefer in my cake. On the other hand it is chocolate so I can't really complain...

Two highlights of the evening were that Paul and Kelly Fleming was there, and Mr. Fleming came up to our table and chatted briefly. A very pleasant and charming man.
The second surprise was that the executive chef Peter Serantoni came up to our table and recognized me as reviewing the restaurant Friday. Turns out he is Swedish as well, originally from Stockholm, and came here when he was twenty years old, and has since then moved around in different states and now lives in California. It was certainly exciting to speak Swedish, and a great pleasure to meet a fantastic chef.

The service throughout the night was excellent. The attention to our, and all other tables as well, was great, with managers, several servers etc., coming up to make sure that everything was ok. Was there anything we needed? A great effort from the whole staff on grand opening night!
I can really recommend this restaurant as the reasonable prices are surpassed by the quality of food and service.
Go there, eat, and let me know what you think. I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback!

Paul Martin's American Bistro
1455 Eureka Rd
Roseville, CA 95661
(916) 783-3600

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