Every so often one receives a unique and special opportunity. Last week we were invited to participate in the Fleming's "media event." We met some folks in the news media, discovered faces behind our favorite local food blogs, and caught up with bloggers we knew. The event was to introduce us to Fleming's new Fall dishes. And just so you know - the event was free; we were expertly wined and dined; and we were given gift certificates to use on a return trip (which we will happily do!).
Overall, we experienced great food, but the standout was the wine and food pairings. All of the selections were thoughtfully selected and made the evening extraordinary.
To begin we were served a Stoli Bombshell. The proceeds from the sale of this martini between 5 and 7 PM every evening at the bar goes to Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. The raspberry cocktail is $6 and is only 99 calories. If you are calorie conscious, this could be the drink for you. Because it is only 99 calories, the raspberry syrup and preserve ingredients are sugar-free.
On to the rest of the menu -
Lump Crab Louis Wraps, butter lettuce, avocado, bacon, egg, tomato, chives with 1000 island vinaigrette
Wine Pairing: Sanford, Santa Barbara County, 2007 Chardonnay
Great start to the evening. The butter lettuce acted more like little fresh green bowls. The crab was delicious. The bacon enhanced, but did not overpower the dish. Now, for anyone who reads my blog, you know that I really do not like chardonnay. And the Sanford tasted like a typical California chardonnay. But this wine was superb with this dish. What really wowed me was how well the wine paired with the avocado. Truly amazing!
Salmon Nicoise Salad, broiled salmon fillet, roasted Yukon potatoes, french green beans, truffled deviled eggs, roasted sweet baby peppers, lemon-balsamic vinaigrette
Wine Pairing: Conundrum, California, 2008
I had never had the opportunity to taste Conundrum. The 2008 is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, and Muscat. What a great white wine! Unfortunately, I do not like salmon, and Fleming's did not change my mind (I did try it, just in case). My hubby, however really enjoyed his salmon (and the rest of mine!). He thought it had the right touch of sweet glaze without engulfing the fish qualities. I did like the green beans with just a bit of basil and I enjoyed the truffled deviled eggs. This dish was presented "deconstructed," but it seemed more of a haphazard presentation.
Roasted Mushroom Ravioli, portobello and shiitake mushrooms, porcini butter sauce
Wine Pairing: Schug, Sonoma Coast, 2007 Pinot Noir
Mushrooms aren't usually my favorite either, but these were very tasty. The earthiness of the fungi and the richness of the sauce balanced each other very well. And the wine added depth to the dish.
Peppercorn Steak, prime New York strip, cracked black and white peppercorns, proprietary “F17”
steak sauce on the side
Wine Pairing: Faust, Napa Valley, 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon
And for the evening's main event we experienced steak. Both hubby and I loved the black and white peppercorn seasoning. Just the right touch. And the Faust Cab? Drool time. How delightfully, in-your-face yummy. We were both thrilled that the proprietary steak sauce was served on the side. This NY strip did not need to be covered up in any way. It needed to glory in all of its nakedness and then be married up to Faust. Oh yeah!
And while we thought we were through (except for dessert), we had a couple of other new Fall dishes sprung on us:
Oysters Rockefeller, three freshly shucked oysters baked with sambucca-laced creamed spinach, shaved parmesan cheese and crispy bacon bits
I could eat these and truthfully say they were decent. Someone who likes oysters would probably really enjoy them.
Cioppino, shrimp, clams and black mussels simmered in a spicy tomato broth, topped with roasted seabass, served with toasted sourdough
Neither of us had tried this seafood stew. It was nice and spicy and the seabass was tasty. Since I am a steak lover, I'm not sure I would order this dish, but for folks where beef is not a first love and they are tagging along for dinner, the Cioppino makes for a good hearty alternative.
And finally, dessert:
Fleming’s Crème Brûlée Trio – Chocolate, Banana, and Vanilla
I'm not a banana fan, but hubby thought it decent. The vanilla was decent, too. The chocolate was the great standout and would have paired well with port.
I want to thank Fleming's for giving me and my husband the opportunity to experience some new menu items as well as some phenomenal wine pairings. Keep in mind that Fleming's also features quite a number of gluten-free options, too. And if the dinner prices may keep you away, consider the 5 for $6 'til 7 bar menu. 5 cocktails/glasses of wine/appetizers at $6 each until 7 PM. And if appetizers aren't heavy enough, they also have a bacon cheeseburger for $6.