As mentioned in a previous post, Fleming’s has added a happy hour to their nightly offerings. Labeled as “5 for 6 til 7″, the menu offers up 5 cocktails, 5 wines, and 5 appetizers all prized at $6 until 7 PM.
As an attempt to get folks in to spend some cash in this less than stellar economy, it works.
Nicole and I arrived at the El Segundo location around 5:30 PM on a Saturday evening (they open at 5) and the place was packed. Well, that is to say all the “good” seats in the bar were taken. Entering the bar area, there are three tables to the right; all of these were occupied by couples chowing down on the special menu. At the bar, all of the seats were in use as well. Open for the taking, though, were several seats at the little shelf on the wall that separates the bar from the dining room. We settled in and were soon approached by a waiter that offered menus and took our order. He also mentioned that a table would be opening up soon.
Sure enough, one of the couples at the tables bailed out within a few minutes. The waiter cleared the table and we got comfortable again. Perfect timing too, as our order was just coming out of the kitchen and our drinks from the bar.
Top Notch Seafood
For food, we ordered the Wicked Cajun Barbecue Shrimp, Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, and the Sweet Chili Calamari. We didn’t try the other two items on the menu, the Seared Ahi Tuna and the Tenderloin Carpaccio, because they fall in line with Nicole’s rule of not eating “raw”. The ahi is prepared as you might expect while the carpaccio consists of thin strips of raw beef. Maybe I’ll try them another time!
The shrimp were done nicely; four very large prawns rested in a frothy sauce that certainly had a distinct “Cajun” flavor to it. The seasonings brought some heat to the dish, but not so much that it was overbearing. We enjoyed the shrimp but maybe too much. With only four of them, they were gone quickly!
The crab cakes were damn near perfect. I wouldn’t expect anything less from a prime steakhouse. The cakes were full of plump, juicy crab meat and pan seared to a golden brown. The sauce on the plate, creamy and slightly peppery, was a perfect companion to the crab. We were actually upset at one point when the waiter took the empty serving plate away before we could recover the left-over sauce. Fortunately, we ended up ordering another batch. Jumbo isn’t an understatement for this dish either; there was plenty to share between the two of us.
The calamari was probably some of the best I’ve ever had. Lightly breaded and tenderly fried, it was cooked perfectly; crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The sweet and spicy chili sauce on the calamari made it that much better. Light and sweet, it added another dimension to the savory of the calamari. I love sweet and savory! Given the amount of calamari on the plate, this was the best value of the three dishes we tried.
Washing It Down With Drinks
Of course, we needed beverages to quench our thirst. We ordered the Fleming’s Mojito and the Diamond Rita. The mojitos were excellent. Well, the first round was. They were almost crispy with the combination of Bacardi Limon, fresh lime and mint, and a great simple syrup. We found out the simple syrup was key; the bar tender was light-handed pouring the second round. We brought it to the waiter’s attention and the drink was brought back up to our expectations with a splash of the sweet stuff.
Compared to other high-end margaritas I’ve had, The Diamond Rita was light in flavor. The Herradura Silver Tequila was pleasantly smooth and distinct, but the other flavors took a back seat. It was a good margarita, but perhaps my taste can’t be elevated after developing an affinity for Cadillac margaritas made with Jose Cuervo Gold.
Ritzy Service at a Bargain Price
With this happy hour, Flemings is basically having a sale. They’re offering dinner jacket service at a tee shirt price; well, almost.
The specials have to be taken with a grain of salt. After all, $6 is definitely more than you would pay at another place for happy hour for a margarita or mojito. And $6 for four shrimp is still high.
But when would you expect to go into Fleming’s and come out satisfied, full, and having spent around $25? Maybe never If you sit down for dinner.
My suggestion would be to definitely take advantage of this deal, but in moderation. Treat yourself when you want a happy hour that’s a little nicer than the one you see every week at your local stomping grounds. But plan ahead and budget. Get the calamari and the crab cakes (they’re big enough to share) and a couple drinks and you won’t go wrong!
2301 Rosecrans Avenue
El Segundo, CA 90245