Classic steakhouse dishes can be ordered such as the wedge ($6.50) which is half a head of iceberg lettuce covered in thick, pungent, crumbly bleu cheese dressing. It’s the kind of dish that would make Julia Child proud, and like many sides and salads on the menu, it’s enough for two or more people. A tenderloin carpaccio appetizer ($9.50) is beef tenderloin pounded thinly and served raw with a spicy creole mustard sauce, capers, minced onions and paprika-dusted cheese toast. It’s a nice, light beginning to a meal that inevitably won’t be.
Like all entrees, the 8-ounce petite filet mignon ($22.95) is served a la carte, and like all Fleming’s steaks, arrives in a pool of butter. The side of Fleming’s potatoes ($5.95) comes separately in a large ramekin and is an amalgamation of heavy cream and cheddar with a touch of jalapeno. It’s good. And like most of the meats, the filet exhibits a nice caramelized char, and the kitchen errs conservatively when cooking beef to order. For those craving something other than beef, Fleming’s offers an array of options including seared curry scallops ($21.95), Australian lamb chops ($27.95) and a charred salmon filet ($20.50) which earned its name, arriving overcooked and dry.
A sautéed spinach ($4.95) side is enough for two and was tossed in browned butter with red onions. It was nice, but again, a bit of a stomach churner with the heavy butter content. For those looking for a lighter meal, I would recommend requesting meats and seafood without butter or cream sauce.
Service is gracious. The parking attendants welcome you, the hostesses welcome you, your servers (plural) will welcome you, and you can expect a visit or two from the manager. All of this said, by the end of the night your dining experience resembles a receiving line. A romantic dinner can feel interrupted, especially when more than one employee adamantly pushes the glories of the house dessert, a molten lava cake served with pistachio-dusted vanilla ice cream ($7.95). Again, it was good. When cut, melted chocolate oozed beautifully onto the plate. It was also extremely rich, and just too much after such a high-calorie meal. A better option would be the cheese plate ($8.95) — pungent, aged cheddars, blues and rind-laden brie, with a glass of the 2000 Pedroncelli Zinfandel ($9).
What distinguishes Fleming’s from your average a la carte steak eatery is the extensive and carefully chosen wine list. Flights of three 2-ounce pours are a great option for those wanting to try several wines. In addition, the wine list is organized from lighter to fuller intensity making it user-friendly for even the most novice wine drinker.
Comfort flies out the window with the arrival of the check. Although many of the dishes may distantly resemble homecooked meals, the a la carte pricing adds up quickly. So if you’re on a budget, put on your jammies and make some mac and cheese at home. But if you’re looking for fine dining with an excellent wine list, and your New Year’s resolution made no reference to the word “diet,” give Fleming’s a go. S
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar 9200 Stony Point Parkway 272-7755 Dinner: Monday through Thursday 4:30 p.m. — 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 4:30 p.m. — 11 p.m., Sunday 3 p.m.-9 p.m.
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