Happy Hours are going through a transformation in many restaurants, and rightly so. The boozy Happy Hour is a relic of a bygone era where menus focused on cheap liquor with little to no attention on food. For many spots, the hours between 5 and 7 p.m. were nothing more than liquid “lead-ins” to dinner.
Today’s consumer preferences, coupled with restaurants’ desire to offer expanded yet simple menu additions, are leading to some interesting and innovative Happy Hour menus. A leading innovator in the burgeoning small plates/Happy Hour menu space is Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. Fleming’s “5 for $6 ‘til 7″ menu underscores the restaurant’s commitment to quality and choice. The menu offers five premium cocktails, five wines by the glass, five appetizers and a two-for-one craft beer special, all priced at $6 each and served daily from 4 until 7 p.m. in the bar area.
On a recent visit we chose the following from the 5 for $6 menu:
Baked Brie in Puff Pastry: Warm, savory and gooey—just the way we like it.
Sweet Chile Calamari: Lightly battered with a nice crunch; delicious chile sauce.
Tenderloin Carpaccio: Nice presentation, thinly sliced, tender and flavorful.
In addition to the five appetizers, Flemings offers their Prime Burger for the same price.
Fleming’s Prime Burger: A good-sized burger, juicy, flavorful, topped with blue cheese. My mouth is watering again!
To accompany our food, we chose three wines:
CHARDONNAY: Canyon Road, California; great as a starter, it paired well with the baked brie.
PINOT NOIR: Mark West, California; a good accompaniment to the Chile calamari.
CABERNET: 14 Hands, Washington; flavorful and it worked well with the burger.
As one would expect, the service was friendly, knowledgeable and very professional.
In addition to the 5 for $6 ‘til 7 menu, Fleming’s continues to innovate and evolve by expanding their newly named “Bar la Carte” menu which includes some old favorites and some new items deserving mention:
Housemade Burrata with charred grape tomatoes, wild arugula and toasted garlic crostinis. $12
Salt & Pepper Shrimp with crispy French green beans and caper mustard sauce. $15
Prime Steakhouse Meatballs with peppercorn sauce and shiitake mushrooms. $9
Filet Mignon Flatbread with Danish Blue and Monterey Jack cheeses and onion confit $12
Cedar-Roasted Mushroom and Artichoke Flatbread. $11
Fleming’s Original Prime Rib Melt with Swiss cheese, sautéed mushrooms, whole grain mustard and horseradish slaw. $16
As the name suggests, the roots of Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar run deep in the traditional steakhouse tradition. However, culinary creativity, carefully thought-out menus that complement and expand the traditional cuisine and a focus on ever-changing consumer preferences allow Fleming’s to innovate, evolve and offer much more than a traditional steakhouse. Give it a try; I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
2001 Siesta Drive
Sarasota, FL 34239
Jack Littman-Quinn is a serial entrepreneur, writer, blogger, foodie and social media enthusiast, covering current trends in food, restaurants and dining in Sarasota. You can read more of Jack's restaurant reviews at www.srqreviews.com.