Steak houses are, to me, a special occasion-type place. My visits are few and far between, and they tend to mark big occasions (like my brother's graduation, although that meal didn't go so well...). When Fleming's Steakhouse invited me and some fellow bloggers to dinner, I was sure we'd be treated to a great meal, but I wasn't sure if Fleming's would be a restaurant I could go to for something other than a special occasion. I'm definitely glad to see that's not the case.
As always, these events are as much (if not more) about getting to know other bloggers as it is about the food. I was happy to see some familiar faces (The Leather District Gourmet, Tales of the Basil Queen, and Megan from Menupages Boston), and even happier to get to know even more bloggers (FoodieMommy, BellyGlad, Grow. Cook. Eat., Forays of a Finance Foodie, and Fork it Over, Boston!). We had a great time talking about food and blogging and why we even bother with it all (not that we actually came up with an answer for that one). We were joined by Michael Dearing (operating partner) and Jason Carron (head chef and partner), who answered our questions and learned a little about bloggers in return.
Now, granted, I know this meal was amazing and plentiful because Jason and his crew were trying to show us what they can do. I would never order everything that they showed off to us. But the quality of everything was fantastic, and the dishes were all plentiful. We started out with the cheese plate, which is given to all customers in place of a bread basket. The specifics change frequently, but the variations we were given were champagne-infused brie and cabernet-infused goat cheese. Um, yes please. Whose brilliant idea was it to combine these flavors, and can they move into my kitchen and do all my cooking from here on out?
Once everyone was settled in their seats, the appetizers began to arrive. The most beautiful was the chilled seafood tower, heaped with shrimp, king crab legs, snow crab claws, and lobster tails. I found myself reaching for seconds and thirds because there was a GIANT TOWER OF SEAFOOD IN FRONT OF ME! How could I not? Each piece was impeccably fresh, and the dish was big enough to share with multiple people as a meal. My other favorite appetizer was the lobster tempura - buttery lobster wrapped in a crispy shell and served with tempura veggies. It was even better than it sounds.
For dinner, we each ordered our own main dish (steak for 90% of the table), and the chef brought out a variety of sides for us to try. I topped my petit filet with Bearnaise sauce (all the while thinking "Don't be saucy with me, Bearnaise") and took little portions of each side.
As much as I enjoy steak (and this was perfectly cooked), I'm more a fan of the sides. Shoestring fries, ginormous onion rings, mashed potatoes (two types - roasted garlic, and parmesan peppercorn), chipotle cheddar macaroni and cheese, sauteed spinach, grilled asparagus, spicy sauteed corn - all delicious.
Dessert was good, but honestly, the savory sides were so good that I was still focused on those. The chocolate lava cake was the stand-out dessert, with a center that was actually molten (unlike in so many restaurants) and served with fantastic pistachio tuille cookies.
This meal showed me that Fleming's can be a typical steakhouse, with finely cooked steaks served with massive side dishes, but it can also be a place to experience 100 different wines by the glass (or in flights) while enjoying your favorite appetizer or side dish, or taking advantage of one of their great deals, such as their Sunday prime rib dinner (prime rib, salad, one side, and dessert, all for $35). Fleming's is also participating in the upcoming Restaurant Week, so if you're feeling like a complete meal, it's a great chance to try the place for little money down.