The Only Thing That Ages Better Than Prime Beef is a Good Restaurant
Perhaps the best compliment for a restaurateur in Coral Gables is longevity. Few cities are more competitive or more discriminating. It is a testament to its quality that Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse is now in its 13th year on the corner of Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Andalusia Avenue. As a purveyor of fine steaks, it has stood the test of time – despite some stiff competition in the neighborhood.
The interior, recently re-done, is low key, using fabric seating and carpeting to mute the clatter of a busy restaurant. The main, high-ceilinged dining area is enhanced by a glass wine room that displays Fleming’s selection of hundreds of mostly red Californians, and by a long elegant bar in front that exudes a kind of Manhattan vibe. The room is brought to life by the bustling kitchen in back, revealed through a glass wall.
An open kitchen is always a sign of culinary transparency, and provides its own entertainment; in Fleming’s, its capped by a large copper panel overhead that runs the width of the kitchen and adds a rich glow. The menu is ruled, naturally enough, by top cuts of steak. If you’re a carnivore, it’s hard to go wrong here. We tried the bone-in filet mignon and the prime dry-aged ribeye. Both extraordinary in taste and tenderness – and if you want to enhance the flavor and toss out the cholesterol counter, they are served with signature butters and can be topped with shrimp, crabmeat or lobster, all richly sauced.
Fleming’s also prepares a limited but excellent lineup of seafood. In addition to lobster tail and barbecued salmon, they serve a perfectly delicate miso-glazed Chilean sea bass. In the starter department, the sweet chile calamari is light, crisp, sweet and just hot enough. For a more spectacular starter, Fleming’s chilled seafood tower – a minaret of ice with snow crab, king crab, jumbo shrimp, and lobster – is a showstopper.
Beyond the fixed menu, chef Pablo Guarella offers different, changing dishes under the heading Chef Pablo’s Table. We tried his roasted in-bone bone marrow dish with sweet bacon onion jam. A little Paleolithic, but surprisingly tasty.
The staff of Fleming’s is warm and well informed, with long-time patrons requesting favorite servers. Our waiter Hernan has been with Fleming’s since it opened in the Gables; he made excellent recommendations both for wine and dishes. Our only caveat is that Fleming’s chills its red wines, which may offer some an antidote to the Gables summer but which struck our table as slightly odd. Regardless, our Migration Pinot Noir and Stag Leap Merlot were both spot-on and well-priced.
Two other things you should know about Fleming’s: First, even though it’s no longer on the menu, ask your waiter for the lobster mac. If sous chef Bo Almonte will make it for you, you will thank him, and us. Second, and it is on the menu, the chocolate lava cake has molten Belgian chocolate in the center and is served with vanilla ice cream and chopped pistachios… need we say more?
Fleming’s is not an inexpensive restaurant, but its quality is impeccable. If you want a taste that won’t break your budget, they have a new bar menu with colossal shrimp tempura and sliced filet mignon with potato waffles; happy hour is also a steal.
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
2525 Ponce de Leon Blvd.
Mon-Fri: 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Sun-Wed: 4 p.m – 12 a.m.
Thurs-Sat. 4 p.m. – 11 a.m.