Restaurants & Bars

Fleming's - Rancho Cucamonga: Service Excellent, Food...not so much

attran99 | Sep 27, 200911:36 AM    

The hubby and I went out for a long-overdue date night last night, and I selected Fleming's Prime Steakhouse because it was close to home and after being open for almost three years, we'd never tried it. We had 8:30pm reservations, but arrived early to have some drinks at the bar and to catch the 'SC football game. Robert, the bartender, was gracious enough to suggest the Clementine for me...which was delightful...now I can't remember exactly what was in it, but there was rum, lemon, lime, orange juice and lovely hints of cilantro. The hubby used his iPhone to have Robert concoct random drinks...and Robert did a fabulous job.
Once we were seated, we were greeted by Jamie, our waitress for the night. Totally personable and knew the menu well. Since it was our first time at Fleming's, she took us through the menu and highlighted some of her favorites. We ordered more cocktails and crab cakes to start. Those crab cakes...perfectly crusted and crisp on the outside with a lovely red pepper sauce...were more salt cakes than crab cakes. I tried looking for the crab, which there seemed to be a lot of, but I couldn't taste it. We had to send it back...my sodium levels were screaming, and I had found shell fragments in it. We had the crab cakes replaced with the beef tenderloin carpaccio. Served with parmigiana-crusted rosemary crostini, a lovely mustard sauce, basil, and capers, the tenderloin was more like a lovely beef butter that melted in your mouth. Significantly better than those horrific crab cakes...and the best thing was that I got the hubby to eat uncooked beef for the first time...and he liked it! I had the Ultra Cosmo martini with the appetizer, and though it was good...it was sure strong!
I selected the lamb and duck combo for my entree, and the hubby went for the ribeye with onion rings and Fleming's Potatoes. Mine was good...both proteins were perfectly cooked medium-rare. The lamb was warm rather than hot...not very good...but was served with mashed potatoes and a lovely sweet-and-sour type of sauce. The duck was tea-smoked and seasoned very well! Really a highlight...but was served with some bland red wine risotto that was a bit dry and more like congealed rice than risotto. It was a house special and wasn't on the menu, so I can't remember all the ingredients. The hubby's steak was supposed to be cooked medium-rare...but it arrived completely well done. He didn't have the heart to send it back (I would have), and doused it was the au poivre (sp?)/peppercorn sauce. The onion rings were perfectly crisp and cooked and came stacked in a tower with a slightly spicy jalapeno aioli. Super good because they weren't oily. The Fleming's potatoes were done scalloped potato-style, but jalapenos and cheddar cheese...pretty good. We had the house rosemary bread served with two accoutrements (a blue chese aioli that was quite nice and a sundried-tomato basil butter that the hubby consumed like water because it was so good). Because our entrees arrived so late (15-20 mins), the manager came over to apologize and had Jamie comp us $50 for the meal. I thought that was quite nice.
Dessert was creme brulee garnished with fresh berries and a bowl of fresh whipped cream. There was a lovely crust on the creme brulee, but the custard underneath was a bit off. It wasn't smooth and rich, it was more like apple sauce...like there were bits of sugar that hadn't dissolved properly while the custard was being made and the custard hadn't set properly while cooked in the water bath. My own creme brulee at home is better than that.
We were really impressed with Robert, the bartender, and Jamie, our waitress. The drinks were fabulous, and Jamie was always gracious with any of our requests. Overall, I don't think we'll be making a return trip to Fleming's. I look forward to dineL.A. in a couple of weeks, were I can plan a date night where the food will definitely make me forget about Fleming's.

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