Who could resist a great steak dinner? That's what I was having at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Beverly Hills. But what really got my attention was Fleming's WinePad (above), an enological version of the iPad.
Instead of paying attention to what I was eating--a prime dry-aged ribeye--I surfed the WinePad, checking listings from around the world, the red and white varietals, wine pairing suggestions and the prices of wine by the glass ($30 for Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay). This took time, because Fleming's stocks 295 wines.
Even better, the WinePad provided the light I needed to photograph the food, as you can see in the photo above. (The email page has especially good light.) The seafood platter below was photographed before I realized that the WinePad could help. You can see the difference in the other photos.
Although I'm not much of a meat eater, I went to Fleming's for a dinner previewing the new menu. Compared to the woman next to me, I was an absolute carnivore. She was tasting steak for the first time.
This should have been celebrated with champagne dribbled over her fork, like the launching of a ship. I did have a little Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs left from the seafood course but decided to wet my tongue rather than her plate.
That seafood first course was more my speed--an icy bed holding lobster, crab and enormous sweet shrimp, all extracted from the shells and easy to eat (above). The platter that held them stood on a rack so that it could be called a tower.
An Olivier Leflaive Meursault came with the next course, crisp pork belly with a fennel and orange salad and mustard vinaigrette (above). This white Burgundy was too austere for most palates, not a good pairing with the jolly mood of the table.
Next came a choice of prime ribeye (above) or New York strip, both dry-aged. A hefty tomahawk, cut up for sharing, was, in my opinion, the tastiest of the meats. The wine for the meats was Round Pond Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley.
Remember surf and turf? It's still around, only raised to new heights as Fleming's "steak companions." There were three--truffled poached lobster, diablo shrimp and king crab with herb butter. Was there really any choice? How could anyone pass up lobster, which is on top of my steak in the photo? And look, there's caviar on top of the lobster.
This was rich food. Potatoes were covered with bright orange cheese. And little sauce pots held purple mustard, sweet onion bacon jam and mascarpone brûlée in case you thought your food wasn't tasty enough.
Cappuccino afterward was actually s'mores, deconstructed into dessert in a cup. The chewy, stringy, sticky stuff made you feel like a kid again. But would you have chosen milk over a luscious, sweet Chambers Muscadelle from Rutherglen, Australia?