As someone who deems herself a “sensible carnivore,” I’m not one to visit steakhouses very often. A medium rare Chateaubriand, Filet Mignon, or Porterhouse is an infrequent treat in my life. Fancy seafood dishes are far more appealing when I go out to dinner for both health and palate preferences. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’d be (somewhat) content if I never ate red meat again. There I said it. My apologies. Does it help that I’m a self-proclaimed pork fanatic? When recently invited to Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, I was a bit uneasy thinking about the amount of steak I’d be consuming. So it was to my delight when I was told we’d be trying out selections from their new “Small Plates, Big Pours” menu. For a mere $24.95, guests can choose between seven petite-portioned dishes expertly paired with one of seven premium 9-ounce “big pours.”
Upon arrival, we were told all about the delicious items we’d be sampling. We were also presented with Fleming’s own WiNEPAD™. This nifty program was designed by Fleming’s national wine director in an effort to assist guests with their wine selections. An iPad full of tasting notes, pairings, and other cool functions, the program takes the headache out of wine ordering. Unfortunately it didn’t help with the headache I incurred from too much indulging that night.
At last, some scrumptious fare was presented to the table. Before Fleming’s brought out our small plates and big pour pairings, they treated us to their Heirloom and Homemade Burrata Salad. The fresh and creamy mozzarella cheese was topped off with Lemon Pistachio vinaigrette and came alongside crispy crostini, juicy grape tomatoes, and wild arugula. The flavor diversity was flawless.
After all of that red meat bashing, you’d be surprised to hear that I opted for the Braised Short Ribs first. Ok, perhaps one day I could eliminate all red meat with the exception of short ribs? Fall apart succulent and full of juicy decadence, it didn’t stand a chance. Paired with Cabernet (B.R. Cohn), I was in an unusual state of red meat and red wine bliss.
Next to my salivating mouth was the Lobster Tempura. Yes, you read correctly. As if lobster wasn’t divine enough on it’s own, Fleming’s deep fries the sea creature in a tempura batter and serves it alongside a creamy ginger soy concoction. Beyond luscious, I could’ve devoured three plates of it. I’m not kidding. To ease the artery clogging richness, the lobster is served with a refreshing Jicama slaw. Wash it all down with a 9-ounce glass of Chardonnay (Fransiscan Estate) and you’ve got a winner, winner, lobster dinner.
After hearing my friend, Megan rave about the Ahi Tuna small plate, I wanted “in.” Her “ohhs and ahhs” were understandable. The sushi-grade Ahi was rubbed in a delicious blend of spices and immaculately seared rare. Served with a fresh vegetable salad and paired with Pinot Noir (A to Z Wineworks), it was both healthy and absolutely delectable.
Some more red meat was coming my way. The Sliced Filet Mignon was heavenly with its fungus Godliness. Making best friends with ‘shrooms, the filet slices came sitting on mounds of shiitaki risotto and were topped with a tangy porcini butter drizzle. With such a complex variety of flavors, I was singing this dish’s praises. Paired with Merlot (Esk Valley) it was possibly the most-loved plate of the night.
Although I refrained from trying all seven selections, I was able to catch a glance at the other dishes. The New Bedford Scallops were enormous and paired with a Sauvignon Blanc (Hanna). The Colossal Shrimp Skewers looked mouth-watering alongside a glass of Pinot Gris (Villa Wolfe). Oh, and the New Zealand Petite Lamb Chops were totally swooning a neighboring guest between her sips of Petite Sirah (Parducci).
I’m ashamed to admit, I was feeling a little greedy that night. I so badly wanted to indulge in all seven small plates and big pours. In hindsight, I’m thankful I didn’t “misbehave.” I can only imagine the three I didn’t try were equally as fantastic.
It had been several years since I last visited Fleming’s. I suppose I wasn’t taking into consideration that they serve a vast array of other goodies besides steak.I won’t let years go by before my next visit. Heck, I’m not going to let another month go by before I return. The new Small Plates Big Pours menu is all the motivation I need to make regular appearances at the highly regarded fine dining restaurant.