Facebook Twitter

Fleming’s offers great steaks

SHARE Fleming’s offers great steaks

On special occasions — such as, say, my 19th wedding anniversary, which occurred this past week — there's really only one type of restaurant that all but guarantees a great evening for both my husband and me.

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse is that type of restaurant.

First of all, it's fancy, dark-paneled walls and white tablecloths and long-aproned servers who descend on each table in well-mannered flocks.

Second, it's surprisingly casual, with a brisk babble of conversation, music wafting from the direction of the kitchen and diners dressed in everything from suits to T-shirts and flip flops. If places like Donovan's are the hushed and elegant cathedrals dedicated to the ritual of eating fine steak, Fleming's is that church's annual picnic.

Third, and most importantly, steak is involved. Though I delight in the culinary discovery inherent in haute cuisine restaurants and ethnic eateries, my husband spends much of his time at such places looking through the menu for something he might not hate — or for the steak, which is rarely as well-cooked at a fine-dining restaurant as it is at a place like Fleming's.

We both like steak — in fact, I might like it even more than he does. And I love giving him endless grief about preferring filet mignon to the more robust ribeye. If we're going to pay absolute top dollar for a meal, it might as well be for steak.

Our waiter did a fabulous job making recommendations and keeping things moving at a luxurious, but not lagging, pace.

We started with the crab cakes, which I thought too small until I took my first bite of their ultra-tender, ultra-flavorful richness. A little went a long way with these crab cakes, particularly with the addition of the succulent puddle of buttery red pepper-lime sauce in which they rested.

We also had salads, my husband a standard but excellently rendered Caesar with wide shavings of Parmesan and house-made croutons, and me a superlative wedge salad, fresh crispy iceberg surrounded by ruby-red halved grape tomatoes, paper-thin slices of red onion and wonderful bleu cheese dressing.

If you've been paying attention, you already know what we had for dinner: my husband the "main" filet mignon and me, of course, the ribeye. Both were dressed simply with salt, pepper and a little butter. And both were superb, the filet moist and surpassingly tender even considering my husband's sacrilegious practice of ordering steak medium well.

My ribeye, with a beautiful medium-rare char and a juicy ruby-red interior, was practically perfect save for an annoying ribbon of connective tissue that wound through one end, something that occurs occasionally in this kind of cut.

The flavor, however, was so good I nearly fainted at the first bite.

With our steaks, we shared sides of fresh, simple and well-made creamed corn with just a breath of spice and the wonderful Fleming's potatoes, au gratin potatoes all creamy and cheddary, given a fun twist with just enough jalapeño to make things interesting.

I made a little mistake in ordering creme brule for dessert. It was just fine, with a silky interior and a crusty bittersweet burnt sugar crust, but this summer I ate what may be the best creme brule on American soil at New Orleans' Palace Café, and I fear I may now be ruined for all others.

Much better to have gone my husband's route and order the darkly decadent chocolate lava cake, a minimally sweet cake crust barely holding in a small lake of satiny chocolate fudge, with a Tuileries cookie filled with cool vanilla ice cream on the side.

Appetizers $9.50-$19.95, salads $7.95-$8.95, sides $6.50-$8.95, steak and chops and chicken $24.95-$42.50, seafood $21.50 and up, dessert about $7.50-$10.50.

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse

Rating: ★★★1/2

Where: 20 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City

Hours: Monday-Thursday, 5-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 5-11 p.m.; Sunday, 5-9 p.m.

Phone: 801-355-3704

Wheelchair access: Accessible

Web: www.flemingssteakhouse.com

Also: Web reservations, private dining and summer prix fixe menu available

Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret News.

e-mail: skratz@desnews.com