What’s not to love about a restaurant whose credo is, “We live, breathe and dream steak and wine.” Sign me up, Fleming’s. You had me at steak.
Fleming’s is a familiar sight in most major cities and has been a fixture in Birmingham at the Summit since 2002. In a dining culture where steak houses, both great and not so great, proliferate, Fleming’s elevates steak to haute cuisine.
First and foremost, Fleming’s is a steak house for adults. Gentle readers, be assured there is no wait staff interrupting your dining experience by singing bad renditions of the birthday song.
Wine and steak reign supreme in this inviting atmosphere, where there is a lively bar scene orchestrated by millennial professionals. As millennials become the largest population of wine consumers, it is understandable they would be attracted to Fleming’s because of something known as the Fleming’s 100.
It was in fact the 100 that lured me to Fleming’s a few weeks back. The 100 is the 100 wines on Fleming’s wine list that are served by the glass. Yes, you read correctly. It is 100 different wines offered by the glass.
Who among the dining public has not dealt with limited by-the-glass wine selections or disdainful wait staff pushing the purchase of an entire bottle when ordering wine to accompany a meal?
This is not the case at Fleming’s, where ordering wine by the glass is encouraged. So much so that diners have the choice of ordering a sip, a 6-ounce or a 9-ounce pour as well a full bottle.
Then there is the wine list. It is printed on a single sheet of paper, not in a leather-bound tome so large it has to be wheeled out on a library cart.
The list is divided into descriptive headings like Sparkling Wines bubbly & festive, Pinot Noir smooth and fruit forward, Global Reds, earthy complex and spicy. The 100 includes domestic labels familiar to anyone who has ever perused a wine shelf and also familiar imported brands.
In the event there is any wine confusion at the Birmingham restaurant, Charlie Hayes operating partner, and Sevda Pepper, senior manager in charge of the wine program, are on hand to offer advice.
Fleming’s offers a varied menu including items other than steak, many of which appear on a small plates menu for those not seeking a full meal to accompany their wine-by-the-glass.
I opted for typical steak house fare, ordering a filet from the evening’s special Southern Hemisphere menu. While the filet was delicious, it was made more interesting by the mole and cabernet butter sauces and two different salts — savory chimichurri and black lava — served on the side.
An array of salads and sides are also featured. Thankfully, I did not observe the “K word” — kale — on the menu, but Brussels sprouts do appear and should not be avoided as they are delicious.
To keep apprised of special events and promotions, go to the Fleming’s website and become a friend of Fleming’s.
While our dining experience was orchestrated by Charlie and Sevda, the wait staff provided seamless service, attentive but not intrusive.
The evening came to a crescendo with our waiter Ben’s recommendation of chocolate lava cake. Let me tell you, there is chocolate lava cake, and then there is Fleming’s chocolate lava cake made with Belgian chocolate served with a tuile cookie cup filled with artisanal vanilla ice cream sprinkled with chopped pistachios.
Oh my, what a way to end an evening. Just when I thought it could not get any better, again upon Ben’s recommendation came an incredible glass of Graham’s 21-year-old tawny Port.
What can I say? It’s a dirty job I have, but someone has to do it.
Contact Pat Kettles at email@example.com.