Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar was founded in 1998 by restaurateurs Paul Fleming and Bill Allen.
The first Fleming’s opened in Newport Beach, California. Besides the very finest aged USDA Prime beef, their focus was on offering an exceptional selection of wines. That continues today.
Fleming’s has been a leader in the wine by the glass program offering a huge selection of wines at often dizzying proportions. Even before Coravin entered the scene.
We talked with Stephen Blevins, Fleming’s Director of Wine and Jessica Tomlinson, Flemings Corporate R&D Chef about the Fleming’s “X” factor and their collaboration between kitchen and cellar.
So, tell us, what is it? What is the “X” factor for Fleming’s?We love and embrace change and innovation. Chef Jessica and I work together every day to push the envelope of creativity and take the time to listen to what Fleming’s guests are saying. Our national wine events are creative, innovative and give both of us the chance to “go left.”Exactly. When our competitors are all going “right,” we willingly choose to go left. We also give our chefs the opportunity to spotlight their creativity on their “chefs table menu” and through local wine dinners.That’s cool. Reminds me of that Beyoncé song, “Irreplaceable.” What else do you do different?We pride ourselves on the finest quality steaks paired with world class wines and over the top hospitality. Fleming’s started in California in 1998 and we take our heritage very seriously. After more than 20 years, we still believe every day is a new opportunity to surprise and delight our guests.Do you have a favorite food and wine pairing?Duck confit, celery root puree, braised red cabbage with cherry demi-glace sauce paired with a really big red blend.Well, I have many…. one of my favorites is a beautiful, rich, and opulent Cabernet paired with a perfectly seasoned marbled Tomahawk Ribeye. Or for the more adventurous – bubbles and pork belly. That combination makes my mouth happy every time.Ooh. Haven’t heard that one before. Tell us a little about your wine program?Most of our restaurants offer about 55 wines by the glass and another 85-100 by the bottle.How do you pick your wines?Great question; complicated answer. I look for the perennial favorites that our guests love, but really, I spend most of my time looking for new and exciting wines to introduce to our guests. I am always looking for interesting varietals, appellations and vintage. One of the most satisfying things is to discover a unique wine to share with our guests.So, once you find those fabulous wines, how do you communicate them to your staff?We have an in-depth wine training. I lead a two-day seminar of tasting and education. We also recently started to support any of our wine managers that would like to complete their introductory or Certified Court of Master Sommelier certification.Do you offer different pour sizes?We offer both glass and taste portions. No better place to put together your favorite flight.Have you gotten on the Coravin adventure?Yes. We just started to use Coravin in all of our restaurants. It was an integral part of our $100 Perfect Pour promotion in 2019.If you had to describe Fleming’s in one word or phrase, what would it be?Ambitious!Jessica nailed it. Ambitious.