Flemings was the place and steak is their specialty; although, they do have some seafood options. I really thought that I was going to experience something unique, even though this is a chain. If you have read past posts, you know how I feel about chains. I was giving them the benefit of the doubt that this chain experience was going to be different. After all, I have seen great reviews of this place on line and in magazines, and they really seem to have it together. I was impressed as well, when I went online to make a reservation and they sent me an email that stated the following; "Dear Friend of Fleming's, Thank you for choosing Flemin's Livonia. We are please to confirm your dining reservation. If you have a change of plans and need to cancel or reschedule, please contact our guest staff at... We look forward to welcoming you!"
Classy, right? This is part of what drew me in and gave me the expectations that I had. I thought, "This place is really going to know how to do customer service." Just as a rule of thumb; if a place cares about their customers they will usually care about their food.
It is true. The one thing that Flemings really does right is customer service. From the moment that we walked in the door we were greeted my the Flemings staff. Coats were checked, and we were immediately seated. Soon a waiter was at the table asking us for drink orders, and informing us that our server was occupied, but he would get us started. Servers were always there throughout the meal; not to badger us, but just there hanging in the wings if we needed anything. The operating partner and his assistant were constantly on the floor as well. Both visited our table throughout the evening, and they were more than willing to engage in conversation answering any questions that we had. The over all service, and staff really was excellent and gave the kind of attention that we all expect from any establishment we walk into. They understand hospitality.
The food however, was a different story. This was not something that they understand nearly as well as they understand hospitality. My wife order Petite Fillet with a bake potato. I ordered Tuna Mignon and sauteed spinach. When I asked our server what kind of Tuna was used in this preparation, she said to me, "Grade A". I laughed to myself and did not pursue this question any more with her because she had just given me the pad answer for their steaks. Grade A has nothing to do with fish. Latter during the meal the floor assistant came by and I asked him about the fish, again inquiring about the type of Tuna they were using. It appeared to me to be Yellow Tale, but now I wanted to see what kind of answer I would get. He said that he did not know, but would ask the chef. He was gone a few moments and returned to tell me that it was, "sashimi 2+." Again I laughed to myself and gave up on the question. The real answer seemed to be, "Its the kind of fish corporate tells us to use for this dish." For all they knew it may have been Scrod as long as it was sashimi grade. The dish over all was encrusted in poppy seed and crushed pepper corn, and then dressed with a "tomato sherry vinaigrette." The "vinaigrette" turned out to be more of a tomato salad or relish. Over all I was really not impressed with the flavor and found that toward the end of the meal, it seemed to finish with an alum-esk feeling on my pallet.
The steak was a very well prepared piece of meat, but did not have exceptional flavor. I was quite surprised by this, especially when Flemings specializes in steak. When I was a child, my family joined with some very close friends for Christmas eve dinners. Fondue was the main course. Chunks of meat were cooked at our tables in open pots of oil. As soon as I put the Fillet in my mouth that memory flooded my mind. The flavor was exact. Now I appreciate childhood memories, and I enjoyed those meals with my family very much. However, I did expect more from this Fillet.
What I am most sad to say is that my wife's bake potato and the sauteed spinach were actually my favorite part of the meal. The sauteed spinach simply consisted of baby spinach, soften red onion, and a little salt and pepper sauteed in a little oil. When I ask the assistant about it, he told me of the simplicity of this dish. He went on to say that corporate had been working to lower salt and sugar content in foods. He said, "now you can really taste the ingredients. Even the deserts taste better, you can actually taste the vanilla." This seemed to be some kind of eureka moment for him, and really is a testament once again to the "affected-ness" (See; "That's What You Get From A Chain") of chain food.
We ordered their molten lava cake for desert. It was a good desert, but it was not special. We both agreed that one of our good friends makes a better one. Presentation was very nice on this desert, but the flavor of the cake was just there, rather flat and unimpressive.
We were also very surprised by the noise level of the restaurant. Flemings is a large open dining room, and they boast of serving over one hundred bottled wines. The open room + glass of wine = loud environment. Really not what I expected from a place that proclaims, "where evenings out become memories." I think it should be slightly modified to say, "where evenings out become memories, if you can remember them."
Over all we were very impressed with the service a Flemings. They know how to take care of people. We gave their service a 4.5 out of 5. You really won't find much better service without going to Grandmas house. The food however we gave a 3. It was just there.
Once again I would tell you. Go to a chain restaurant if you want but don't expect more than a chain experience. You will just be disappointed if you expect something more. You can find much better food and the same service from privately owned and operated eateries all around the metro area.