v19 Commentary :: Fleming’s Steakhouse Chicago

Steak On A Plate Co-Founder’s Commentary

SOAP v19 @  Fleming’s Steakhouse Chicago (05.13.2017)

Steak: 3.5…The chef took me up on my “Rare plus” high maintenance. While the steak was prepared perfectly I found the cut itself to be slightly thin. The bone-in was the obvious choice, no need for last minute audible. Overall solid steer but not the best by any means. There was a little excess of fat, which I ate… just felt like it. My wife’s fillet however, or the one bite I had, excellent!
Starters/Sides: 5.0…The highlight of the night! The Fleming’s Potatoes are officially a SOAP staple. The lobster mac (on special, by the way) only complimented them, and it fell second to no other lobster mac in town. Fleming’s is no newcomer to the notorious “sides” business, they know how is works.
Ambiance: 3.5…First, hats off to the staff. I wanted to plan a Steak on a Plate outing which included our better halves, and made the wrong choice in reserving with Chop Chicago. The setting there was very disappointing and while not to pick on the Porkchop chef’s co-pilot, it needs to be stated someplace. If it were the three of us that would be one thing, but I was not going to bring my wife there for the ultimate taboo night out! We made a last minute change to Fleming’s for v19 because of how disappointed we were in the ambiance of Chop. We had no reservation, which Fleming’s gladly took us is. After our table was ready we preceded to hang around the bar for an extra 20-30 minutes. The bar staff was friendly and the host stand very patient and understanding of our situation. The wait staff was professional and knowledgeable with all the right menu choices. The bar itself separates itself nicely from the upstairs dining room, which in my opinion serves as a disadvantage in spreading vibes onto the usual crowds of Ohio. The Saturday crowd was mildly lively but our table placement was perfect for the group. The girls had a great time…I think. But it is needless to say the restaurant is outdated and needs some restoration. Some of the classics in town can get away with some vintage, but even they admit to casual upkeep and relevance. Hannah and I really enjoyed our experience at Fleming’s but think some modernization is necessary for our next visit.
Drinks: 3.5…As always I began the night with an old-fashioned from the bar area. The red blend recommendations paired nicely with everything on the table. Everything was good, but no wow factors.

Steak: 4.0…Bone-In Ribeye…duh! I really liked my steak. It was cooked perfectly, it was GREAT quality meat and had a great crust on it. Paired with my standard-order of Bearnaise sauce and it was an extremely rewarding steak. Ok, here’s my anti-rant (i.e., not a rant!)….Fleming’s is not a chain. I hate that term…”chain”…Fleming’s is just a restaurant with numerous locations. Outback is a chain. We don’t go to Outback for SOAP. Fleming’s, with its numerous locations as a fine dining steakhouse, means they have extremely high standards for their processes, including the grilling of their steaks. Hence why it was such a great steak, because it has the company’s high standards behind it. Have no fear when visiting Fleming’s in any city…it is a great multi-location steakhouse similar to the likes of Morton’s and The Palm.

Starters/Sides: 4.5…We went heavy on the starters and sides and they were fantastic. Burrata, Slab-Cut Bacon for starters…and creamed spinach, crispy brussel sprouts, macaroni & cheese w/ lobster, sauteed mushrooms AND the Fleming’s potatoes. Burrata is the best food concept of the last few years. I’m sure it existed prior to that and i’m sure it was damn good, but now it is everywhere (seasonally of course) and it is double-damn good! Slab-cut bacon…not as good as Prime & Provision’s bacon, but a close tie for 2nd with most other slab cut bacon offerings…c’mon, you can’t have a bad bacon (well, unless it’s beggin’ strips…dogs don’t even know it’s not bacon). For the sides, the “standards” we got were all great. As we try and look for that one stand-out marquee/unique side dish, we had no problem finding that with the Fleming’s Potatoes…BOOM. Get these…just do it. They were fantastic.

Ambiance: 3.0…The double-floor setup works. The lower level draws locals and tourists off the street with their big windows and vibrant bar scene, while you are then whisked upstairs for a private dining floor. My only issue is that it didn’t have that unique interiors draw that made you leave with a lasting visual memory. If I was shown 2 pictures of the dining room right now, I don’t know if i’d guess right on the first try.

Drinks: 3.5…I was greeted at the door with an Old Fashioned…only because we were late due to the Chop Chicago snafu. I continued to drink the Old Fashioned cocktails thru the evening, and they were very good. Not high-end cocktail bar good, but good. And not low-end bright-red maraschino cherry bad…not anywhere even close to that. Just overall a really good cocktail! The table shared some bottles of wine: CS Avalon. **Insert something about red wine here** -> The tannins were off the hook. Note: Yes, I left in my reminder on purpose, and no, what are tannins? The rest of the table seemed to enjoy the wine, so good pick table-sommelier.

Steak: 3.5 
Starters/Sides: 3.5
Ambiance: 3.0
Drinks: 3.5
Combined Rating