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Restaurant review: Fleming’s in Edgewater

Restaurant Review: Fleming's In Edgewater

staff photos by amy newman

Clockwise from above: Choice seating at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar offers views of the Manhattan skyline; a 12-ounce filet mignon with the jumbo lump crabmeat “companion”; onion rings; molten chocolate lava cake. Here’s the best way to experience Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar: Choose well, and don’t be the one paying the check. Then you can ignore the Edgewater restaurant’s sky-high prices, which are not always justified by its look, service and food.

Restaurant Review: Fleming's In Edgewater

Start that dinner by picking out wine from an extensive and detailed list on a tablet computer, which can even suggest food pairings. Enjoy a well-seasoned filet mignon; try the chipotle-flavored macaroni and cheese. Cap it off with a truly molten chocolate lava cake. And hand someone else the sticker shock at night’s end. The 12-year-old steakhouse, part of a national chain, sits in the open-air shopping center called City Place at the Promenade, which lies between busy River Road and the Hudson River. An open kitchen runs along the 180-seat wood-paneled room, where the best and most popular seats are the ones closest to the windows that look out onto the New York skyline and the river. But many do not have that view, and in that case, the busy dining room feels more like a much lower-priced chain restaurant down to the signs Fleming’s places on its white tablecloth-covered tables, advertising wine specials or a particular night’s prix fixe.

Restaurant Review: Fleming's In Edgewater

We got off to a solid start with a crab cakes appetizer packed with jumbo lump crabmeat, in a heavy red-pepper and lime-butter sauce (?19.50). A platter of the house-made cream-and-mozzarella cheese known as burrata made a nice offering with roasted grape tomatoes and garlic toast, though the platter also held wilted arugula salad (?13.50). In addition to appetizers and entr es, Fleming’s offers “small plates” that could serve as big appetizers or small entr es; one I tried, the lobster tempura, was not particularly successful its four small lobster tails were covered in a too-thick, too-oily breading and accompanied by a salad so overloaded with ginger that it tasted soapy (?26.95). Steaks are, of course, the heart of Fleming’s menu, and most are wet-aged, the less expensive of the two steak-aging processes. I tried two steaks classified as prime, the designation for the most marbled beef, with mixed results. The 16-ounce New York strip bore a pink hue that was closer to medium than the medium-rare my friend ordered, but offered significant flavor. At ?51.95, it was also one of the most expensive strip steaks I have ever ordered. My ?54.95 bone-in rib-eye, on the other hand, had no more flavor and wasn’t any more tender than rib-eyes I’ve had with the less-marbled grade of “choice.” My favorite steak is also the restaurant’s most popular item, a silky 12-ounce choice-grade filet mignon, priced at ?48.95.

Restaurant Review: Fleming's In Edgewater

A note about steak pricing here. Fleming’s prices are on par with, or sometimes lower than, those of a fellow high-end shopping-center restaurant that also offers wet-aged beef, Morton’s The Steakhouse at The Shops at Riverside in Hackensack. However, most of Fleming’s prices are significantly higher than those of its fellow high-end Edgewater steakhouse, The River Palm in Edgewater which serves mostly dry-aged prime beef, a far pricier process than wet-aging. (Fleming’s was out of its one dry-aged steak, a rib-eye, the night I tried to order it.)

A number of steak rubs, sauces and “companions” are available. A topping of lush jumbo lump crab meat justified its ?12.95 price tag, even though it also included thin asparagus that had the flavor and moisture grilled right out of them. Despite asking the waiter twice to put the “Diablo shrimp” on the side of our steak, the barbecue-butter-flavored shrimp were dumped right on top (?11.95). And a side of cabernet-mustard sauce was first forgotten, then served jarringly cold. Fleming’s does offer a good double-cut pork chop (?36.95) and a decent Scottish salmon (?37.50), though my plate of salmon came oddly dribbled with uneven splatters of two different oily sauces. Sides must be purchased separately, as they are in most steakhouses: I can recommend the chipotle macaroni and cheese, with just the right hint of smokiness (?10.95), and the huge, sweet onion rings (?10.95). But my creamed spinach was served with strips of congealing cheese on top (?10.50), and my creamy Fleming’s scalloped potatoes hadn’t been cooked all the way through (?11.95). As for dessert: Forget everything else and order the intense chocolate lava cake, made with high-end Callebaut Belgian chocolate (?13.95). Go out of your way to avoid the overly fussy version of s’mores, with its too-hard graham crackers and shot of Scotch whiskey (?11.95).

Don’t expect to be too coddled here: No one checked our coats or crumbed our tables. I sat in one booth with a tear in its seat. And while my waitress one evening was professional and solicitous, on another night we got a waiter who acted more like a preschool teacher, constantly shouting “Fantastic!” “Great choice!” “Amazing!” I just wished I could say the same thing as I paid the tab.

Email: ung@northjersey.com Twitter: @elisaung

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