Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar (Courtyard Marriott)

A chain steakhouse with West Coast roots.

From October 2003

The rich flavor and tenderness of Fleming's bone-in rib eye lends credence to the menu claim that the steaks at this West Coast chain are "aged up to four weeks for flavor and texture." The porterhouse is better, in flavor and tenderness, than some of its counterparts at chains with more established names. Both steaks were incisively seasoned with salt and pepper and served on plates slicked with melted butter. For a relative newcomer among top-shelf steakhouses–it has been here for three years–Fleming's makes an impressive showing.

The house salad is an old-fashioned mix of iceberg, romaine, tomatoes, and croutons, all ladled over with a fine bleu-cheese dressing. It would be even better without its garnish of candied walnuts. A good alternative is a wonderfully crunchy chopped salad whose greens are textured with a fine mince of salami, bacon, Monterey Jack cheese, olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

Sides for two were a mixed success: The crunchy shoestring fries were flawless, but the cheesy Creamed spinach was overwhelmed by its sauce.

Fleming's offers a dizzying number of wines by the glass, a list of bottles on which a moderately priced choice is in the upper-$40 range, and a reserve list meant to let you know what the last of the dot-com millionaires are drinking.