Fleming’s, at the corner of Lee Road and U.S. Highway 17-92, is deservedly known as a serious steakhouse destination, but as thousands of appreciative customers will attest, it has also earned its place as an integral part of our community. Managing Partner Rebecca Gaines and Chef Partner Tom Nadolski say “yes” to community events as varied as The Taste of Winter Park, where they won first prize with their surf and turf entry of sliced tenderloin and a crabcake (which got my vote), to the Science Center’s Science of Wine, where they offered a seared Ahi Tuna. Events such as these, in which gourmet food of the highest quality is served to hundreds of people, has given the restaurant a special place in our grateful community while earning the admiration of foodies who have some idea of the army of talent it takes to offer fine dining under such varied conditions.
Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for a public event to experience fine dining Fleming’s – style. The restaurant’s beautiful, dark-wood-paneled home is open seven days a week and offers an on-going celebration of food and wine, featuring exceptional (and varied) USDA prime beef steaks and a list of 100 wines by the glass. And while prime beef is Fleming’s signature, they also offer magnificently prepared seafood and a variety of – what they call – small plate offerings, which are only small by comparison to some of the super-size steaks.
I couldn’t wait to see what constitutes a small plate offering in a steakhouse, so my dining partner and I tried the Sliced Filet Mignon – which is served over a shiitake risotto, thereby giving this foodie the thrill of two of my favorite tastes served in one bite. I’m enough of a sybarite to appreciate the fact that my filet was pre-sliced for me, but then to have it served over a perfect risotto is some special kind of heaven. And – just as I thought – this small plate is plenty of food (for a normal person). Moreover – if you sit in the bar area – you can order this deliciousness with an oversized wine pour for a total of $25. The second small plate we tried was the Colossal Shrimp Skewers, which are served with a just-hot-enough chimichurri sauce that makes this yet another highly recommended offering.
Fleming’s is located at 933 N. Orlando Ave. in Winter Park. Open seven days a week, call 407-699-9463 or visit flemingssteakhouse.com for more information.
Realizing we would have to ‘force’ ourselves into a second visit in order to bring the requisite appetite for the steaks, we concluded our first visit by sharing the Scottish Salmon, which was amazing. As I ate one of my favorite foods (salmon), I kept reminding myself we were in a steakhouse. This salmon, slow-roasted and served with a BBQ glaze, is somewhere beyond delicious. I loved it.
As noted, one needs to bring a certain level of hunger to fully enjoy a steakhouse steak, so we returned for the steaks – and that was a good move. Personally, I always go for the filet, which is served here with a Gorgonzola cream sauce. As I sailed off into a dreamland of inventively combined tastes, I mentally thanked the Chef for putting this extraordinary piece of meat together with that fit-for-royalty sauce.
USDA Prime is a title given to only the top 2 percent of beef in this country, and my dining partner’s Prime New York Strip exemplified that sought after title. Tender, beautifully marbled and served at the perfect medium rare – as requested – the strip was one gorgeous hunk of meat.
I have to add that when a restaurant puts its name on a side dish, that dish is usually worth tasting, so I followed my instincts and ordered a side of the Fleming’s Potatoes. My immediate comment was that potatoes should never be allowed to taste that good. Fleming’s Potatoes are a kind of scalloped potato with cream and cheddar cheese and just enough jalapeno to turn the simple potato into a work of art. Really. I’m serious.
Our waiter ‘forced’ us to have some of their decadent desserts, and I must admit – the Crème Brulee is possibly the finest I’ve ever tasted, and the carrot cake – naturally sweetened with pineapple – is wonderful.
Please keep in mind Fleming’s unmatched 100 wines by the glass (for years, they’ve received the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine). I heartily recommend you put yourselves in the hands of one of the knowledgeable servers at Fleming’s to enjoy one of the great joys in life – sharing a wonderful meal with friends and family.