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Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

May 31, 2013

Recently, my husband told me that there was a special credit card promotion at a nearby restaurant that I might be interested in going to.  He urged me to load the special promotion to my credit card in the event that we did end up going to this restaurant.  He was also given the same promotion on this credit card, so he loaded it too.  Next thing I know, he tells me that the restaurant, located in Beverly Hills, has available reservations the following night, in case I’m interested.  I think he tricked me into looking into the restaurant, and them waylaid me by telling me we could get reservations the next night!  After looking over the menu, and reading about the restaurant, I said yes, let’s go for it.  But, who am I kidding?  This restaurant is a steakhouse, and I’m a meat and potatoes kind of girl.  How could I say no?  And with the great credit card deal we were getting, it was even more of a no-brainer.

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The restaurant is Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar.  Originally opened by restauranteurs Paul Fleming and Bill Allen, the first Fleming’s location was opened in Newport Beach, California in 1998.  Today, Fleming’s has over 60 locations nationwide, include the location in Beverly Hills, recently opened last December, that my husband and I dined at.  Fleming’s is known for aged prime cuts of beef and fresh seafood served in a contemporary and lively atmosphere.  Fleming’s has quite the happy hour menu with stellar prices in a nice bar setting.

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The steakhouse is also well known for it’s Fleming’s 100, which is 100 of the most popular and premium wines served by the glass with the wine list presented to the guests on a tablet at the table for you to choose from.  That was something new I’d never seen before!  Unfortunately though, I don’t drink, so I didn’t have use for the wine list and therefore didn’t have an opportunity to play on the tablet.  However, where we were seated in the restaurant was right next to the where the wine bottles at the restauant are stored.  It’s a very large, all-glass enclosed, 2 story space, that holds hundreds of bottles of wine.  It served as a nice centerpiece and talking point in the restaurant.

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While my husband and I were perusing through the menu, our waiter brought the traditional “bread and butter” tray to our table, except it wasn’t traditional “butter” that we were being served.  With Fleming’s homemade sourdough bread, we were served 2 small ramekins, one filled with a chardonnay infused whipped feta cheese mixture, and the second one with a whipped sundried tomato spread.  How interesting, who would have ever thought that feta whipped and smeared on sourdough bread would be good?  But, as skeptical as I was, I must admit that it was quite good.  Perhaps it was the infusion of the chardonnay that helped to dampen the saltiness of the feta cheese.  Whatever it was, it was a nice tangy and flavorful spread that went on nice and smooth over the hot homemade sourdough bread.  And, though I’m not a huge fan of sundried tomatoes, I do admit too that the whiped sundried tomato spread actually was very nice and tangy on the the sourdough and created a nice balance to the feta mixture.  This was promising to be a great start to a wonderful meal.

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For his appetizer, my husband couldn’t pass up ordeirng the baked brie.  It is a plate of brie baked inside of pastry dough, served with candied walnuts and sliced Gala apples along with a small mixed greens salad.  My husband loved it, because when you cut into the perfectly baked flaky pastry dough, the melted brie cheese just began to ooze out of the pastry dough.  Pair the nutty flavor of the brie with the candied walnuts or the slices of tangy and sweet Gala apple, and it was a match made in heaven.  It’s not often that you see baked brie as an appetizer on a menu, and my husband who is a huge lover of brie, thought that this was such a tasty and fun dish and light enough to start off what would be a heavy meal.

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As soon as I saw tenderloin carpaccio on the menu, I knew that would be my appetizer.  I just can’t pass up carpaccio.  I told you, I love my meat.  The carpaccio was served with caper creole mustard sauce, thinly julienne sweet basil, and a side of toasted cheese baguettes.  Oh my goodness were they yummy!  That cheesy toasted bread brought everything together.  But the carpaccio was amazing.  I don’t know how they can slice the meat that thin.  It was so paper thin that it basically stuck to the plate.  The caper creole sauce was nice and tangy, and briny from the capers.  The addition of actual capers also provided a nice saltiness to the dish, and the sweet basil was the perfect topping.  I could just have carpaccio all day long.  Some of the best carpaccio I’ve had yet!

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For the soup and salad course, my husband couldn’t resist the French onion soup.  My husband is not a big soup lover, except French onion soup.  That’s one of those things that he just can’t resist.  I think it has to do with the globs of cheese that are melted on top of a cup of French onion soup.  At Fleming’s you get a pretty generous portion, with a very hearty crusty slice of bread that floats on top of the soup, and then grated Gruyere and parmesan cheeses which is then melted under a broiler.  When you sink your spoon into the soup and get some of the crusty bread, some of the salty broth and the creamy onions with the stringy cheese, how can you go wrong?

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I chose to go for what I thought was a tradtional Caesar salad.  But, I guess I should have known it wasn’t traditional when the menu states that it is a “modern Caesar” salad.  And modern indeed it was.  There was an added twist that I’d never seen before with a Caesar salad.  Based on the menu, it describes this modern Caesar as hearts of romaine, parmesan, fried capers and prosciutto chips.  And that’s exactly what came out to the table along with a thinly sliced piece of bread that was baked crisp and golden to substitute for croutons.  The fried capers is something I hadn’t really seen before, but quite liked.  The capers provided a bit of a salty and briny flavor, but it wasn’t overly strong since it had been fried, and because they were fried, they provided a nice crunch.  The briny flavor of the capers also paired well with the anchovies that were presumably used in the Caesar salad dressing.  The prosciutto chips are what was new and refreshing.  They were an eye catcher on the salad, provided a nice crunch and burst of flavor, but yet were light enough not to make this a very heavy salad.  Definitely, a modern salad.

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For our steak entrees, my husband and I chose 2 different cuts of steak.  I opted to go for the special of the evening, which was a petite filet mignon with the bone-in.  I never knew you could get a filet with the bone-in, and since the bone is where most of the flavor comes from, I figured this had to be good.  Of course, when at a steakhouse, you have to order the steak medium rare.  When my steak arrived at the table, it looked more like a large filet mignon than a petite one, but I guess that has to do with the bone, because the bone was massive!  Since the filet was still attached to the bone, there was a bit of fat attached, which you wouldn’t normally see.  But the filet was definitely much more flavorful and juicy.  And it was ultra, ultra tender.  Pretty much fork tender.

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My husband opted for the ever popular prime bone-in ribeye.  It was a huge chunk of meat, one that only a guy could probably finish.  One slice of the ribeye, and one bite into his mouth and my husband looked at me with eyes wide and exclaimed “wow!”  He said that was literally the best piece of meat he’d ever eaten.  Without any steak sauce or bernaise or chimichurri or anything else you could put on the steak, it was, in his words, hands down the most flavorful piece of meat.  He was in love with Flemings.  And bear in mind, my husband isn’t even that big of a steak lover, and yet, he absolutely loved, and subsequently devoured this ribeye.

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With our meals, we ordered a couple of side dishes.  We each got to choose one, so I opted for the creamed sweet corn.  I love creamed corn!  There was an option for sauteed or creamed sweet corn, when I asked the waiter, he recommended going with the creamed corn, so that’s what I did.  This isn’t just plain old creamed corn, this was creamed corn with a bit of a bite to it.  Instead of just being sweet corn cooked in some heavy cream and served at the table, the creamed corn was topped with some cheese (which included Gruyere) and melted under the salamander, thereby creating a nice crusty cheese layer on top which had a wonderful nutty accent to it that went went with the earthy corn.  Then the whole concoction was topped with three slices of deep-fried jalapeno!  Woo wee.  Oh, so, I’m not a jalapeno eater, so I brushed those off to the side.  But one bite of the creamed corn and you know there’s something to it.  The creamed corn was cooked with cayenne and other spices to give it a bit of a kick.  Not so much a full frontal spice assault, but more of a subtle kick of spice that left a bit of a bite at the end.  It was delicious though!  I could have eaten a bowl of the creamed corn.

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My husband chose the chipotle cheddar mac & cheese.  I told you, my husband loves his cheese.  One bite into the classic elbow macaroni and cheese mixture topped with a crunchy bread crumb mixture and you could taste the chipotle!  Again, not too strong to overpower the taste buds, but strong enough that you know it’s there.  It gave the mac and cheese great flavor and a bit of a punch.  Of course, not a surprise, my husband loved it.  But then again, what’s not to love about mac and cheese?

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By this time, we were both full, and were debating back and forth as to whether or not we should have dessert.  But, in the end, we were getting a screaming good deal on the meal, and we didn’t know if we’d ever be back to Fleming’s again, so we figured we could find just a little bit of room for dessert.  A sweet treat to end the evening.  Walnut turtle pie was my husband’s dessert choice.  Made with homemade caramel, walnuts and chocolate baked in a chocolate pie crust, it had enough non-chocolate elements to it that my husband was willing to give it a try.  I loved the touch with the large chocolate shavings covering the pie when it was brought to the table.  look at the size of those whole walnuts they put in there!  My husband said the pie was delicious and he ended up finishing the whole thing.  A bit of a surprise since not only isn’t he the biggest chocolate fan in the world, he’s also not a fan of pie crust.  But he managed to finish off the chocolate pie crust.

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I am the chocolate lover in the family, and I couldn’t resist a good old chocolate dessert – the chocolate lava cake.  This is a rich chocolate cake with a molten chocolate center of Belgian chocolate, served with vanilla ice cream and chopped pistachios and a side of chantilly cream.  As it’s a molten lava cake, it needs to be made-to-order and takes about 25-minutes to make.  So, halfway through our meal, our waiter had actually mentioned this to us and said that if we were interested in ordering it, we should go ahead and do it so we wouldn’t have to wait so long after our meal was over for the dessert to be ready.  Boy was it rich chocolate cake with very rich Belgian chocolate in the center.  Slicing open this bad boy, the melted Belgian chocolate flowed right out of the cake just like lava.  It was rich, and lucsious.  Almost too rich, which is where the side of chantilly cream really comes in to play as a dollop of the cream right over the cake helped to balance out the sweetness of the chcoolate cake.  But I was so stuffed halfway through this dessert, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it.  That is, until my husband stepped in to help me finish my dessert.  Boy, he must have had a chocolate craving that night.

In my book, you can never go wrong with steak and potatoes.  And when the quality of the steak is as terrific as it is at a place like Fleming’s, it’s almost a match made in heaven.  My husband was over the moon about how wonderful his meal, especially his steak was.  We walked out of the restaurant already starting to plan our next trip back there to have some more delicious food.  I think that’s got to be one of the best compliments you can give a restaurant when you’ve just walked out of their establishment and you already want to plan your next trip back there!  Everything from the level of service we received, to the amazing menu, to the dishes that were classic steakhouse dishes with a bit of a modern flair, to the taste and quality of the food all combined to make this a memorable dining experience.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 1, 2013 12:42 pm

    I am also a big beef carpaccio fan though I remember that when I was new here in Holland, raw meat was a no-no. That steak look pretty huge so I wonder if I would still have a place for dessert afterwards. Well, with that lovely chocolate cake from Belgian chocolate, I can share with the hubby… Great post, made me hungry despite just having dinner and guess what, ribeye steak! 😉

    • June 3, 2013 11:46 am

      Malou, I can understand completely on the raw meat. Until the past few years, I could not eat raw meat or seafood. But then, I realized that it was more a mental thing. So, when I got over that, I discovered and realized that sometimes some things are so much more flavorful when you eat them raw.

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