Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Small Plates Large Taste at Fleming's in DTLA

Fleming's Steakhouse at LA Live in Downtown LA recently launched a small plates menu as well as a limited edition private label wine, the 46 Diamonds Toscana 2009.  The restaurant already had a traditional appetizers, salads and steaks format to the menu, but the addition of small plates enables grazing or feasting, depending on your mood and the occasion.

The small plates include Sliced Filet Mignon on shiitake mushroom risotto, Lobster Tempura and Filet Mignon Skewers among several others.  My dining companion and I opted for the New Zealand Petite Lamb Chops with pistachio mint pesto and polenta fries.  The lamb chops were petite as advertised, just the right size to pick up with your hands and eat.  There is no dainty in a steakhouse; no morsel should be wasted.  The polenta fries were nice and crispy and the chops had a pleasant lamby flavor and were cooked medium rare as asked.

Ahi Tuna Skewers with wasabi aioli, sweet tomato vinaigrette and homemade wonton chips are another highlight of the Small Plates menu.  The tuna is lightly seared and is served with the just spicy enough wasabi aioli.  This dish is not for those who shy away form sushi.  The tomatoes were a nice addition to the plate but I didn't feel the wontons added much beyond a crunchy element to the dish.

The Porterhouse was a special on the night of our visit and as Fleming's is a steakhouse at heart, it made sense to get to get the porterhouse so we could try both the tenderloin and the strip.  The steak was served peppered and was cooked rare to medium rare.  We methodically attacked the steak, like a well thought out military campaign.  There was nothing left but the bone when we were done.  Our waiter informed us that the porterhouse can come in multiple sizes.  Some diners have eaten a size twice that of the one we split, all by themselves.  The allure of a well cooked prime steak is hard to resist.

Chiptole Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese is a recommended side.  Breadcrumbs sprinkled on top, the mac & cheese is pleasantly cheesy, although nobody is going to call this version cheese and macaroni.

A real treat is the limited edition Sangiovese house wine that Fleming's partnered with Il Borro Winery's Salvatore Ferragamo (yes he is related to his namesake, the footwear maker was his grandfather) and Nicolò D’Afflitto.  The 46 Diamonds Toscana was modeled after Ferragamo's flagship wine Il Borro.  Only 350 cases were produced and the wine is exclusive to Fleming's.  The Toscana went marvelously with both the lamb chops and the steak.

Each year Fleming's partners with a winemaker on an exclusive bottling; past winery partners have included Mondavi.  This year's Toscana 2009 is ready to drink now.  It is a lush Super Tuscan style wine with strong fruit forward notes while not veering into the sweet zone.  Alas due to the limited production, this is a enjoy while you can item, as when it is gone, it is gone.

This visit was hosted.

Fleming's at LA Live: 800 W. Olympic Blvd, DTLA. Phone: (213) 745-9911.  Website: www.flemingssteakhouse.com

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