Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Spring Menu at Fleming's Steakhouse

The semi-new L.A. Live next to the Staples Center and Nokia Theatre has certainly livened up downtown LA with its multitude restaurant offerings. One of these restaurants is Fleming's Steakhouse, which recently launched its Spring menu. They held a tasting of their new menu items for a few media/bloggers, but since I couldn't make it, they generously invited me to come at another time. I brought a friend of mine from college in the hopes that feeding him steak might render him more inclined to help me move again if need be, even after the previous moving fiasco with the super-heavy-bed-that-won't-fit-in-the-elevator.

But I digress.

The dimly lit dining room is reminiscent of an old school steakhouse, complete with white vs black napkins (though I was surprised when the server asked which one I wanted, as opposed to looking at what I'm wearing and giving me the one I needed).

Housemade rosemary bread with black pepper butter and chardonnay-infused feta cheese.
Nice herb flavor on the bread, served warm. The black pepper butter was smooth and had a nice kick. I really liked the special feta cheese.

I've never been to a Fleming's before and so I never knew about "Fleming's 100", their list of 100 wines available by the glass, about 30 of which are under $10 per glass. I got a glass of the 2007 Louis Jadot Pinot Noir ($13)

The Chef Partner, Calvin Holladay, came out to greet us and I decided to let him send out whatever he wanted me to try from the new menu offerings.

We started with some Lump Crab Louis Wraps (butter lettuce, avocado, bacon, chives, egg, tomatoes)
This reminds me of a the Chinese lettuce wraps but with BLT + generous lumps of fresh crab. They used fresh quality ingredients including the sweet juicy tomatoes. Can't go wrong. This was probably my favorite of the night.

Roasted Mushroom Ravioli (portobello & shiitake mushrooms, porcini butter sauce)
I also quite liked the pasta. Al dente ravioli filled with earthy and flavorful mushrooms topped with a rich buttery sauce made for a bite to savor. While they don't make the pastas in house, Fleming's worked directly with the producer to develop the pasta they felt was just right for the dish.

Tillamook Bay Petrale Sole (crab beignets, lemon butter sauce)
Lightly breaded and fried, the sole was meaty and topped with Jalapenos and red peppers for extra kick and their crunch helped cut the richness of the dish. The crab and corn beignets were well spiced although after eating a whole one I felt they could be more moist.

Peppercorn Steak (prime NY steak, crushed white & black peppercorns, "F17" sauce)
The peppercorn crust made for a great flavor kick without being overwhelmingly peppery. Even though the steak is a bit overcooked (I ordered it medium rare) and thus tougher than what I normally like, I could easily finish my half because it was flavorful.

Our entrees came with two sides:
Roasted Baby Carrots (golden raisins, toasted almonds)
Let it be known that my friend hates cooked carrots, but for some reason he tried these (perhaps feeling that he should since I'm reviewing it) and loved it. Maybe loved is too strong a word, but he did indeed say it's the best cooked carrot he's ever had and that he can actually eat them and enjoy them.

On my part, the carrots were tender yet not overcooked and still crisp and the golden raisins added a nice extra sweetness.

Sauteed Haricot Vert (French green beans, shiitake mushrooms, porcini essence)
A simple dish of green beans elevated by the umami-ful garnish.

I knew that the friend that I took here was a huge cheesecake fan, so when the waiter said that their cheesecakes are the best, I decided to order it for us.
New York style cheesecake with blueberry sauce.
Light and fluffy, this cheesecake is not overwhelmingly sweet as some cheesecakes can be. The richness and slight tanginess of the cheesecake are complemented well by the blueberry sauce.

I forgot to write down the prices but appetizers were around $15-20 and the steak was around $30-35.

I have to say as far as chain steakhouses go, Fleming's pleasantly surprised me. Of course, because they had invited me they probably paid extra attention to the food they served that night, but it seemed that they did not slack off in choosing good ingredients, especially the produce the appetizers and side dishes. Being a steakhouse, their steak did not disappoint either with both the natural flavor from the meat and their spices and sauce. Next time I'll have to make sure to get it a bit more rare and it should be just right.

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
800 W Olympic Blvd Ste 113
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 745-9911
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse in Los Angeles on Fooddigger


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