Monday, January 17, 2011

Fleming's Steakhouse

Even though I was just saying on here that no one ever posts comments on steakhouse reviews, the other night we ended up at Fleming's.  So can I just start by saying, will you guys prove me wrong here?  There are so many steakhouses in Indy, and I have been to many of them, but I hadn’t really heard that much about Fleming’s.  Actually the only thing I had really heard repeatedly was that there are often sports stars in there.  Not sure why they like Fleming’s so much, but I told hubby to be sure and point them out if there were any while we were in there (since I wouldn’t probably recognize anyone with the exception of maybe Peyton Manning).
The interior of the place reminds me of a darker version of Eddie Merlot’s.  Similar big room with a lot of wood.  We got a nice booth on the edge of the room which was good because it was pretty noisy in there.  I liked the looks of the appetizer menu because it wasn’t just the usual steakhouse apps--shrimp cocktail and crab cakes and a wedge.  Don’t get me wrong, they have all those things, but they also had several other interesting things.
I decided to go with 2 appetizers and share hubby’s steak so we could try lots of different things.  I started with the beef Carpaccio, which is often one of my favorite things.  This one wasn’t bad, the meat was very fresh and I enjoyed the Creole mustard sauce that was drizzled across—I enjoy the bit of heat from the spicy mustard to go with the pure smooth richness of the raw meat and there were also small dices of red onion and whole capers which gave a nice texture variation as well.  There was also a small peppery salad covered with finely diced boiled egg.  There was nothing wrong with anything specifically, but this wasn’t one of my favorite Carpaccios ever—I think I prefer a more even scattering of the flavors, and maybe some olive oil drizzled across as well (the meat seemed a little dryer than some other versions I have had).  Anyway, everything was high quality, but it just didn’t jump out at me as one of my favorites.
My sister and her husband got lobster tempura as an appetizer and shared some of it with me.  This was outstanding.  The lobster was an entire tail that was fried tempura style and it was served with 2 sauces—a jalapeno pepper sauce and a soy ginger sauce.  They were both nice and I had a hard time deciding which I liked better.  The jalapeno sauce was a little sweet—almost like a sweet chile sauce.  The soy ginger was thick with a consistency like a salad dressing, but with a pleasantly mild flavor of both soy and ginger.
I ordered the “wicked Cajun barbeque shrimp” for my main dish.  I love New Orleans barbeque shrimp—it isn’t what you think of when you think of traditional barbeque shrimp (as in shrimp with barbeque sauce). It is more of a heavily spicy buttery broth with a lot of garlic and a bit of Worcestershire sauce.  I have eaten and made several versions of the dish and I really enjoy it.  I like the heavily spiced nature of it, but this one was just too hot and spicy for me.  In general, it had the right idea but just went too far down the road of pure heat, instead of using all the seasonings for pure flavor.  But this wasn’t the biggest downfall of the dish—the shrimp themselves held that honor.  They were very large (I think there were only 4 in the order) and they were tough (with the exception of one, which still looked a bit blue, so I skipped it altogether.  I am not sure who decided that bigger is better with shrimp, but in my opinion, it often just means it is more likely they will be tough.
Hubby’s bone in ribeye was excellent though—the meat is prime, and they did a good job cooking it medium rare.  It was a great ribeye, hitting the perfect mix of the slightly chewy nature of the more marbled cut of beef, but still very tender.  The steak was spot on.  I ate quite a bit of it since I wasn’t as thrilled with my shrimp.
Like most steakhouses, the sides are sold separately and are large enough to share (among 3-4 people at least).  We had the Fleming’s potatoes, which were their version of au gratin, but with cream, cheese and a little bit of jalapeno.  The peppers were mild, and just had a tiny hint of heat, which I thought was a nice variation on the usual au gratin potatoes.  We also had the chipotle cheddar mac and cheese.  It was decent mac and cheese, but I didn’t really get the chipotle flavor out of it.
So, remember what I told you about the sports star thing? Well it was pretty funny, because we walked in with several burly looking guys and I didn’t really think much about it. During our dinner though our server told us that pretty much all of the Jets Football team was there (this was the night before the playoff game against the Colts).  In fact the quarterback, Mark Sanchez, was sitting 2 tables away with some other players (ok, don't be mad, but that Mark Sanchez guy is pretty damn cute).  And apparently, most of the rest of them were scattered around the place too.  So that was kind of fun (even if I wouldn’t have known any of them if other people hadn’t pointed them out to me).  So I guess that rumor is true—at least in my experience!
We finished with a dessert—the walnut turtle cake.  It was good as well---thick and chewy with chocolate and caramel but chunky with a lot of walnuts.  They also served it with a great big bowl of Chantilly cream which was light and tasty and a nice accompaniment to all the decadence of the cake.
This place is expensive—as are most steakhouses I find.  The steaks range between $30-40 on the whole and come with no sides.  The appetizers are $10-20 (is it weird they don’t have any prices on the website?).  Is it a place I would be running back to? Probably not, but it was better than several of the local steakhouses.  But if given the opportunity, I would probably choose a local like Peterson’s or an old standard like Ruth’s Chris.  But that’s just me.
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse
8487 Union Chapel Road
Indy 46240

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon


  1. Pretty spot on review. Overall this is the steakhouse I prefer in town, especially because of their extensive wine by the glass selection. We often just go to the bar for appetizers and wine, their bartenders are excellent and if you want a steak you can get it right at the bar. One secret: you can get a hamburger at the bar for like $10. It is an awesome Burger!

  2. I too get totally annoyed when restaurants don't have prices on their web sites. I understand that when you're dealing with a chain restaurant, different markets have different prices, but that is no excuse. I sometimes skip a restaurant based on that fact. It just comes across as pretentious: "If you have to ask how much it will cost to eat here, you probably shouldn't be dining with us."

    But you've made me want to dine here just to try the lobster tempura!

  3. I completely agree with your review here. Flemings = nothing special and I'm amazed at the corporate level how their menu seems so positioned against Ruth's Chris.

    When they first opened, wine by the glass (and wine in general) was supposed to be their thing. I was over it after I ordered an $18 glass of cab and the bartender presented me with an unpolished generic wine glass.

    (Of course, Ruth's downtown now only has one set of generic stemware as well for wine which is disappointing. Restaurant quality Riedel isn't *that* expensive. I at least want different glasses for white and red.)

  4. I used to frequently visit when they first opened, but in the last two years, I think they have been slipping. I liked their appetizers and sides better than most other steakhouses. Also, I appreciated the fact that it was a little more casual than most steakhouses. I remember hearing them play the Allman Brothers Band and a pretty rock heavy soundtrack. Also, they have Hall Cabernet, my favorite Napa red…

    I always find that steakhouses have a difficult time maintaining quality and service. Especially in times of a recession.

    It is just a matter of setting expectations though. Don’t let the price tag fool you, corporate-account-steakhouses are never going to be anything special. Usually a good steak, above average service and a comfortable atmosphere.

  5. Wibia! Thanks for reminding me about the music. I meant to comment on it in my post and forgot...they did play a nice mix of 80's/90's music that we enjoyed and that was not your typical steakhouse music..I remember REM and Indigo Girls I think.

  6. Joe in Montgomery OHJanuary 17, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    Anxious to try this on next Indy trip. I can't eat a 16 oz steak and if Joan and I can share one that's great. Indy's not the only place with a plethora of expensive steakhouses. Cincinnati has them by the bushel it see. Some good, some approaching great (Carlo & Johnny's in my town of Montgomery), but enough.

    I hope the Jets enjoyed Indy. I know they're treated much better there than they would be today in Boston!

  7. Jessica in NoblesvilleJanuary 17, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    I have been to many local steakhouses on corporate accounts, but Eddie Merlot's and Shula's were the only ones I've been willing to go back to on my own dollar. (And Shula's was just during Devour Downtown!) Back when sister restaurants Peter's and Chops were open on 86th Street, they were the ones to beat, with creative menus and excellent service.

    Honestly, I can get just as good a steak at Texas Roadhouse for a fraction of the price as these fancy places! And I can grill a much better bone-in ribeye at home than any I've ordered out. So a steakhouse has to offer something pretty special, something I can't cook myself, to get me interested. The bbq and bacon-wrapped shrimp appetizer at Shula's is one such draw, and Eddie Merlot's has a great ahi tuna wonton appetizer, along with the best filet I've ordered.

    I'm hoping that our local diners will start to demand more from the chains, then maybe we'll see the steakhouses offer more variety and creativity. In the meantime, I'm happy to fire up the weber grill, even in the dead of winter.