Santa Clara Square Welcomes the Newest Fleming’s Steakhouse

A goblet of ahi poke at Fleming's Santa Clara.

A goblet of ahi poke at Fleming’s Santa Clara.

 

With Whole Foods, Il Fornaio, Sur La Table, Books Inc., and other businesses, Santa Clara Square has been hopping.

Even more so now with the opening of the newest Fleming’s Steakhouse nearly two months ago.

Be prepared to scour the parking lot for a space if you dine here, though. That’s because the lot is surprisingly compact, given the number of businesses. And there’s no street parking nearby. One can only wonder how much more congested the place will get once Puesto restaurant opens, too.

As it is, prepare to circle around quite a bit to snag a space. We did on a weeknight, when we were invited in as a guest of the restaurant. We ended up giving in to valet parking in front of Fleming’s. It will set you back $7. You pay with your credit card, then text when you are done with dinner to have your car ready and waiting when you leave.

The dining room.

The dining room.

A partition of wine bottles.

A partition of wine bottles.

It’s a handsome restaurant with a glassed-in open kitchen at the back. The dining room has large booths, and a dramatic light fixture that may make you think of a UFO. Floating shelves of wine bottles act as a partition between the bar and dining room.

This is the place to indulge in a wine you’ve never had before and always wanted to try. Fleming’s is famed for its “Fleming’s 100,” which is an impressive program of 100 wines available by the 1/2 or full glass.

A sparkling wine by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

A sparkling wine by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

You’ll find wines on that list that you rarely see offered by the glass elsewhere, including a 2016 Miraval Rose Pitt-Jolie-Perrin, of which is what I was eager to try a glass ($26.25).

Yes, it’s the highly touted sparkling wine by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt — pre-breakup) — and the Perrin family of Chateau Beaucastel. A pretty pale pink, it is redolent of strawberries on both the nose and palate. It is crisp, bracing, and full of minerality, making it perfect with many foods.

It went especially nicely with the ahi poke ($18.95), its ruby red cubes of tuna served piled into a cocktail glass. Creamy wasabi aioli came on the side to dab on as you liked. It was served with won ton chips, as big and thick as tortilla ones, to smear everything on.

Bread with two types of butter.

Bread with two types of butter.

Warm bread comes to the table with two additive butters: a Champagne brie one, and a Chardonnay smoked cheddar.

The Modern Caesar ($12.50) arrived cold and crisp. The spin on it were the crisp shards of prosciutto draped over the top to add a little funky saltiness much like anchovies do.

The newfangled Caesar.

The newfangled Caesar.

Prime Dry-Aged Ribeye ($61.95) weighs in at a massive 16 ounces. It arrived medium-rare as requested, with a great salty sear on top. You can enjoy three complimentary sauces with your meat: peppercorn, bearnaise, and Cabernet-mustard. The latter was my favorite because the piquant mustard helped balance the richness of the meat.

Now, that's a steak.

Now, that’s a steak.

A trio of steak sauces.

A trio of steak sauces.

Shoe-String Potatoes ($10.50) bring a pile of skinnies that are very crisp. You can taste the wine and herbs in the dish of Sauteed Mushrooms ($10.50), which are delicious.

Skinny fries.

Skinny fries.

Wine-y mushrooms.

Wine-y mushrooms.

A fillet of Miso-Glazed Chilean Seabass ($46.95) boasts a deeply caramelized exterior and melty, moist flesh. It’s at once savory, earthy, and full of umami. Pickled red onions add a nice pop of tang.

Chilean seabass gets an Asian treatment.

Chilean seabass gets an Asian treatment.

The New York Cheesecake ($13.50) is a classic rendition. Smooth, velvety, and dense, it’s garnished with white chocolate shards, a fluff of whipped cream, and blueberry sauce.

No calories, right?

No calories, right?

It’s not a light dessert by any means. But one doesn’t come to a steakhouse to eat daintily.

DessertTrio

More at Santa Clara Square: Dinner at Il Fornaio

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4 comments

  • I’ve never been to a Fleming’s! Don’t know why — there’s one not that far from where I live. Those shoestring potatoes look terrific! LOVE a good shoestring potato. Sounds like you had a good meal – thanks!

  • John: You should definitely give it a try. I’m always wary when it comes to large chains, because the quality often suffers. But I’ve been happily surprised by Fleming’s. Have gone to a couple of them over the years, and have marveled at how good and consistent the food is.

  • Wow, did Meat Boy finish that steak? 😉

  • Seems like they’re going for all the classic steakhouse dishes. I’m sure people living in Silicon Valley will eat this up.

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