It sure is nice to get to go to Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar for an occasion such as somebody else's wedding anniversary. That was exactly what happened last Thursday when Jim and Dana Higgins came in town from New York. Dana is Jason Wesley's sister, and Brent is really good friends with all of them as well. I met Dana several years ago and then caught up with her again and met her then-fiancé Jim two summers ago while visiting New York. Since they came into Baton Rouge on their first anniversary weekend, Brent organized a trip to Fleming's for them, and I was invited to attend. Brent brought Chelsea as his date and I was accompanied by my dear friend Caroline. Our group was hungry, thirsty, and ready for a fabulous evening at Fleming's where we knew Eusebio would take care of wining and dining us like we were on Top Chef or Jim's Favorite, Hell's Kitchen.
Jay, Caroline, Jason, Jim, Dana, Chelsea, and Brent at Fleming's
We all started with a cocktail at the bar. I very quickly noticed that I did not get the jacket and tie memo before the evening began, but I got over it. I've been underdressed before, and I'm sure I will be again! I imbibed on a Fleming's Classic Martini because I wanted to make sure I thought it tasted as good as the last time I drank it. When we sat down at our table we were greeted by our wonderful wait staff and were informed that Chef Eusebio had a special appetizer planned for us that would be coming out soon.
Duck Breast with Raspberry Glaze, Seared Scallops with Roasted Corn, and Lobster Lettuce Wraps with a Homemade Slaw and Sauce
The appetizers made their way to the table and everyone sat in awe and amazement. Eusebio explained how each of the dishes were prepared in the kitchen and then we were invited to dig in. The duck breast was amazingly tender and paired perfectly with the sauce that sat atop the fowl. The scallops were seared nicely and topped with a roasted corn mixture that partnered with the scallop surprisingly well. The lettuce wraps were filled with sautéed lobster, a fresh slaw, and a simple sauce. From the moment the wrap touched your lips you knew you were getting something special. The lobster was clean and fresh with a delicate texture that was complimented very well by the slaw that was served with it.
A couple bottles of wine were ordered for the table, one white and one red. I'm a much bigger fan of red wine myself, so I opted for a glass of the Malbec. I'm not sure exactly which vineyard it came from but Davida, the Queen of Wine at Fleming’s, picked it out for us so I knew it would be excellent!
A Beautiful Glass of Malbec
After the appetizers we were ready to order the rest of our food. Caroline and I thought it would be a good idea to try the soup de jour... that's the soup of the day. It sounded good, so we thought we'd have that (Dumb and Dumber reference in the Fleming's blog post! Point Jay!). On this day the selection was Butternut Squash Soup. It was rich and creamy with several flavors that were like candy on the tongue. It was a perfect amount of sweet and savory that I look for in this type of soup.
Butternut Squash Soup
For the main entree I ordered the mixed grill. I had previously always gotten the cowboy-cut bone-in rib eye, cooked medium rare, when I was at Fleming's, but for my birthday this past year I got the mixed grill and couldn't have been happier, so I thought I would go that route again. The mixed grill is an opportunity for the chef to be creative with some stuffings and sauces each day, which is one of the main reasons I like it. It is always a pleasure to go for specialty items or off the menu because you really get to see what the chef can produce rather what is established and cooked routinely every day. This particular mixed grill contained a duck breast, a boneless quail, and filet mignon.
The Mixed Grill at Flemings
To give you better idea of what you are looking at in the picture above; from the top center and rotating clockwise: boneless quail stuffed with a goat cheese mixture, macaroni and cheese, blackberry glazed breast of duck, grilled asparagus spear, filet mignon with mushroom sauce, and Fleming's potatoes (sorry the picture is so dark, the mood is set in the restaurant, if you know what I mean!). All of the food was fantastic but I think I could pick out the winners and losers from the bunch. The filet was average. I was not too impressed with the mushroom sauce compared to the other sauces and flavors on the table. The meat was tender and delicious, but I'm not a filet kind of guy, so it was off the mark for me. The asparagus spear was good, but a little ordinary compared to want they do with a lot of things at Fleming's. I feel like I could get grilled or steamed asparagus of that quality (which is high) at quite a few restaurants around town. The Macaroni and Cheese is fantastic with chipotle and cheddar flavors in every bite, but I've had it several times and know there other sides on the menu worth trying. The side item that I do think is worth getting every time is the Fleming's Potatoes. This potato dish is made with cheese, jalapenos, and cheddar cheese and is one of the best side items in town. The duck breast was also a winner. Even though I already had some duck breast on the appetizer plate, I can always eat more! The sauce on the mixed grill duck was a mouth-watering blackberry reduction that enhanced the flavors of the dark duck breast to the point of ecstasy in my mouth. However, my favorite item of the evening was the boneless, goat-cheese-stuffed quail. While the wings and legs actually still had bones in them (they are a little small to be de-boning), the breast portion of the quail was bone-free and stuffed with succulent goat cheese mixture. The combination of the tender quail breast infused with the melting, grilled goat cheese flavors created a taste bud explosion and all that was left to do was try to remember to chew and swallow instead of sit there drooling.
Naturally, no meal is complete without dessert, and Eusebio had worked up something sweet and special for the anniversary couple and the rest of us as well.
Cheesecake, Chocolate Cake; Buttered Pecan, Cafe Au Lait, and Peach Ice Creams
Pictured above are a classic cheesecake with chocolate topping, a chocolate cake, and three different varieties of Kleinpeter Farms Dairy Icecream. I will give Fleming's props that even though they do not make their own ice cream in house, they do serve a local product that is still emerging in the marketplace. If you have not had Kleinpeter Ice cream yet, I suggest you do so soon! The real treat of the dessert parade that was placed on our table is not pictured above. Eusebio made a special chocolate-flavored baked dish, like a cake, that was extremely light and fluffy. He then sliced that in half and spread a layer of crème brulee in the middle, and then stacked the two halves back together again. It was incredible! The cake melted in your mouth as the crème brulee lined your tongue to create a unique sensation to go along with the exquisitely sensational taste.
I should be back at Fleming's in November for their Bourbon Dinner... that will make one hell of a blog post! Until then, keep the mouths watering!