This past weekend marked a special occasion for Haley and me. Being here for over a year now, I have tried many of the restaurants Nashville has to offer but haven’t really documented them until recently. While I could have taken her to one of the restaurants we’ve visited many times before, I wanted something truly special this time around. This time, I wanted to try one of Nashville’s finer dining establishments.
After spending weeks looking at the menus of all the top fine dining restaurants in Nashville, I finally decided on Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar (which I’ll just refer to as Fleming’s for the rest of this review). My reason for this was because of Haley. Haley is the type of person who prefers simple food and she hasn’t quite matured her palate to menu items such as “oven-roasted lamb chops with sea island red peas, butternut squash, brussel sprouts, pumpkin seeds, bay laurel jus” or “chicken breast with sorghum glazed chestnuts, sour apples, broccoli, and vin blanc.”
Fleming’s has a menu with a wide array of choices that can cater to any taste without straying too far to make it seem exotic. Known for their aged USDA Prime steaks and assortment of 100 different wines, I was 99.9% sure Haley would find something she liked. On top of that, I’ve been dying to try Fleming’s since my arrival to Nashville. So it ended up being a win-win situation for both of us.
Owned by OSI Restaurant Partners, LLC, the same company that owns and operates restaurants such as Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Roy’s Restaurant, and Bonefish Grill, Fleming’s is a stylish, contemporary, & upscale steakhouse located across from Nashville’s own Centennial Park. Warmly lit with modern, wooden decor and furniture, Fleming’s truly exhibits a refined, upscale ambiance.
Upon arrival to Fleming’s, we were greeted by several hostesses who promptly seated us after confirming our reservation. Despite the atmosphere being a bit noisy, I wouldn’t expect anything but considering that it was prime dining time on a Friday evening. It was still romantic enough for both of us.
After being seated, our waiter immediately introduced himself, welcomed us by name, and mentioned our special occasion. I know that they get that information from the reservation system but I’ve never experienced any kind of service like that. I was already impressed…
The service at Fleming’s truly was impeccable. Our waiter was the best I’ve ever had and made extra effort to make sure we were taken care of. He answered all our questions about the menu without any hesitation as well as made several suggestions for both of us. He made sure our drinks stayed full and checked on us frequently without bothering us too often. In addition, he and the other staff made sure that the empty plates on our table didn’t sit there for longer than a single minute. Quite notable considering the restaurant was already teeming with patrons. Even more, the management came by our table and spoke to us by our names and commented on our anniversary. If this kind of service isn’t the “world-class”, then I’d be astonished to see what is.
Our evening began with a couple of glasses of wine (superbly recommended by our waiter) and a loaf of herb bread with two spreads as an appetizer. The bread was warm and soft with a slight herb flavoring. The two spreads provided were a sun-dried tomato spread with a buttery, roasted flavor and a feta cheese & butter spread.
Just moments after the last few pieces of bread were left; I was presented with my appetizer of French Onion soup. Baked with Swiss and Parmesan cheeses, this delightful, caramelized onion soup had characteristics of sweet and slightly salty with delicate herb overtones. This soup was so delicious, I was tempted to slurp the soup out of the bowl. I would have done just that had I been dining in the comfort of my own home.
For the main course, I ordered a Bone-In New York Strip steak while Haley ordered the Petite Filet Mignon. Together we shared the following sides: sautéed button and Portobello mushrooms in butter and garlic gloves, a plate of double-cut shoestring French fries and onion rings, and chipotle cheddar macaroni & cheese.
The sautéed mushrooms were tender and flavorful. The assortment of different mushrooms automatically separated it from others I’ve had and cloves garlic embedded within the dish were a nice touch compared to minced garlic that is traditionally used in this type of dish. I love the fact that Portobello mushrooms were used because these kind of mushrooms hold up well to sautéing and have a thick “meatiness” not found in standard button mushrooms.
The plate of shoestring fries and onion rings were fried in peanut oil and served with ketchup and another sauce (mayonnaise-based I believe). Shoestring fries in general tend to get soggy due to the collection of excess oil and this was apparent with this particular appetizer. However there were some sections that were fried just perfectly, so Haley and I stuck to those. Even with being selective about the fries, there was just too much food for both of us to consume. The onion rings on the other hand were large slices of tender, meaty onions (about a 3rd of an inch in height) with a perfectly crispy, panko-like crumb breading.
The chipotle cheddar macaroni and cheese had a very thick & smooth texture with a heavy, creamy taste. Sprinkled on top were tiny panko-like crumbs that had an intense peppery heat to it. You didn’t notice the heat until after it sat on your tongue for a few moments. Despite the wonderfulness of the macaroni and cheese, I could only eat a couple spoonfuls of it because it was so rich and creamy. Plus I wanted to continue eating my other sides as well as my steak.
Finally we come to one of the special cuts of beef for that day, a Bone-In New York Strip steak cooked to my preference of medium rare. Per Fleming’s menu: Fleming’s serves the finest USDA Prime beef: corn-fed, aged up to four weeks for flavor and texture, then broiled at 1600 degrees to seal in all the juices and flavor. All our steaks are seasoned with kosher salt and black pepper; finished with a touch of butter and freshly chopped parsley.
This steak was hands down, the best, most delicious and flavorful steak I had ever eaten in my life. The outsides of the steak had a nicely charred, crispy crust while the center was a deep red. Cutting into it took very little effort with each slice slowly unlocking the steak’s natural juices. The simple addition of salt, pepper, butter, and parsley added that extra bit of flavoring to round out & complement the steak. Each bite had an intense savoriness attributed to the intense marbling of the steak as well as the aging of the beef. In my opinion, Fleming’s truly has mastered the preparation of steak.
The amount of food ordered for that evening was enough to serve 3 people. Haley and I didn’t even come close to finishing the meal and I had the rest of it for leftovers the next day. Even reheated, the leftovers were very delicious and biting into the last remaining bites of my steak made me daydream of the previous night’s steak.
All the phenomenal food and service at Fleming’s comes at a hefty price tag. Fleming’s is not for those who are looking to dine on a budget. Both Urbanspoon and OpenTable rank Fleming’s with a $$$. That means that on average, a meal for one can land anywhere in the $31-50 range. Of course our bill easily exceeded that amount.
Despite Fleming’s being part of a corporate-owned chain, don’t let that fool you. If you ever have a chance to dine at Fleming’s, I highly recommend it and guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. The quality of every aspect of their establishment, food, and service is of the highest grade. I easily rate my experience at Fleming’s at the top and even Haley, the finickiest eater in the world, ranked the food at Fleming’s among her top #2 of all time. As long as Fleming’s continues to uphold the same principles and qualities that we experienced on Friday, I will continue to return, recommend it and be a loyal fan.
|Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar
2525 West End Avenue
Nashville, TN 37203
Bill Total: $167.60