Monday, April 05, 2010

Steak 101 and Lunch at Fleming's Steakhouse + GIVEAWAY

Congratulations to Al P. for winning the Fleming's Steakhouse Gift Card!

Steak 101, Lunch and Wine at Fleming's Steakhouse

Last year, I set up a fun event at Fleming's Steakhouse at L.A. Live for my dining group where Chef Partner, Calvin Holladay, did a very informative Steak 101 class where we learned about selecting steaks, cutting and prepping the steaks as well as some great grilling tips. There was a lot of information and I took as many notes as I could. Hopefully, I'll be able to share what I learned in this post and even more so, that I got the info correct.

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Steak 101, Lunch and Wine at Fleming's Steakhouse

One of the first things Chef Holladay mentioned was what to look for in a steak when purchasing it. Simply, the steak must have a bright red suface, a good marbling and a firm texture. Afterwards, he gave a demonstration of how to cut a Rib Loin into steaks. When cutting this piece of meat, other than a sharp knife, you also need a large cutting board. To hold it in place, either take a wet rag and put it under the board or get a slip mat. The last thing you want is that cutting board slipping and you getting a cut.

Steak 101, Lunch and Wine at Fleming's Steakhouse
Steak 101, Lunch and Wine at Fleming's Steakhouse

After he cut the Rib Loin into steaks, he gathered them together in his hand and cut off the fatty tail end of the meat, which could be saved to later grease the grill. Chef Holladay also mentioned that the loin side of the beef wasn't as fatty as the chuck side of the beef. Another term he brought up that I never heard of before was "Deckle". I found a lively discussion about it on eGullet and also at this link. Chef Holladay described it to us as the fatty area around the Rib Eye and basically, it goes up to where the Rib Eye ends to where the New York Steak starts.

Steak 101, Lunch and Wine at Fleming's Steakhouse

After slicing off that fatty end of the steaks, he placed them on a tray lined with a peach colored paper. Apparently, there was actually something special about this paper. This peach colored paper is made from peach skins, which has an enzyme that helps to keep the steak red. You can ask your local butcher for them or you can also purchase them here.

Steak 101, Lunch and Wine at Fleming's Steakhouse

Those steaks were going to be part of our lunch so those were put aside and now we got to see what different cuts of steak looked like and also what the differences were between some of them. For example, we learned the following:

New York Steak: a t-bone with the tenderloin and bone cut away. Not tender like a filet and not as fatty as a rib-eye. Basically, where the Rib-Eye ends, the New York Steak starts.

Filet Center Cut (or Filet Mignon): tapered, small end of the tenderloin. Tender, but with a light marbling so not as flavorful as other cuts of meat. The part of the filet that starts from the neck and goes towards the middle is sometimes referred to as Chateaubriand while the filet towards the tail are referred to as Tournedo. There's also a Bone-In Filet where you can get the Filet Mignon with the bone.

Porterhouse: on one side is a bone-in strip steak while the other side is a portion of the tenderloin.

Rib-Eye: the boneless cut of prime rib. With its rich marbling of fat, it is one of the most flavorful and juicy of steaks, although not as tender as the tenderloin. You can also get a Bone-In Rib-Eye for additional flavor.

Steak 101, Lunch and Wine at Fleming's Steakhouse

When it comes to prepping your grill, as mentioned earlier, you can use the fat to grease the grill's surface or wrap a towel around some kind of utensil, dip it into oil and oil the grill that way. Once you've added the oil, shut your grill to let it heat up. Once you open it and see that the smoke that coming out is white, the grill is hot enough to cook your steak.

Steak 101, Lunch and Wine at Fleming's Steakhouse

The one thing that Chef Holladay emphasized is that we shouldn't "play with our food", meaning that we shouldn't keep flipping the meat over and over every few seconds. Once the steak seems caramelized enough, than you flip it over. A general rule of thumb is 1 to 2 minutes per side. So after laying the steak on the grill, wait a minute and while still on the same side, turn it at a different angle to cook for another minute. This will give you great grill marks on your steak. After those 2 minutes, flip the steak over and repeat. Once there is a blood pool coming from the steak, the steak is going from a medium rare to medium. If you'd like to your steak more well done, turn it over again for another 1 to 2 minutes and so forth.

To test the doneness of your steak, you should feel the surface of your steak either with your index finger or a flat-sided utensil. We were actually shown a way to get a steak to our liking based on comparisons with our hand to the steak itself. For example, open your palm and touch the tip of your thumb to the tip of your pinkie. Then touch the area below your thumb while it's in that position with the index finger on your hand. You'll notice that the area feels very firm. If your steak also feels very firm, it's well-done, so it goes as follows:

Thumb to Tip of Pinkie: Well-Done
Thumb to Finger Next to Tip of Ring Finger: Medium
Thumb to Tip of Middle Finger: Medium Rare
Thumb to Finger Next to Thumb: Rare
Open Palm: Raw

Once you've gotten your steak to where you want it, let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes after you take it off the grill before cutting into it. This will allow the juices to flow to the center so that you'll have a nice juicy steak. Keep in mind though that the longer you grill your steak, the less juicy it will be.

Chef Halladay mentioned that if the steak is of really good quality, you don't really need to season it too much and if you are going to season it, just use salt and pepper. Simply, just before you grill your steak, liberally sprinkle salt and pepper evenly on both sides of the steak. Don't be shy about covering the entire surface. As the steak is grilling, the salt and pepper turns into a golden brown crust that you could scrape away once you remove the steak from the grill.

Overall, Chef Halladay was a fountain of information and I definitely learned a lot more than I expected. After our class, we sat down to lunch starting with Rosemary Sourdough Bread with Champagne Brie and Roasted Tomato Herb Butter and Wine. That bread was really quite addicting, especially with the brie.

Steak 101, Lunch and Wine at Fleming's Steakhouse
Steak 101, Lunch and Wine at Fleming's Steakhouse

Our sides consisted of Sauteed Mushrooms and the Fleming's Potatoes with cream, jalapeños and cheddar cheese. The potatoes could have used a tad more jalapenos, but that's just my personal preference since I enjoy food with a kick, but the cheesy goodness of the potatoes more than made up for not enough jalapenos.

Steak 101, Lunch and Wine at Fleming's Steakhouse
Steak 101, Lunch and Wine at Fleming's Steakhouse

Finally, we got to try two different cuts of steak, the New York Steak and the Boneless Rib-Eye. Look at the perfect pinkness of both steaks to see they were cooked just right. When eating them side by side, you can really tell the differences with the Rib-Eye definitely being more flavorful and juicy, but the New York Steak was one of the best ones I've had in awhile.

Steak 101, Lunch and Wine at Fleming's Steakhouse
Steak 101, Lunch and Wine at Fleming's Steakhouse
Steak 101, Lunch and Wine at Fleming's Steakhouse
Steak 101, Lunch and Wine at Fleming's Steakhouse

Overall, this was a great learning experience. Chef Holladay really knew his stuff and that was really reflected in the steaks at our meal. I would definitely come back to the Los Angeles Fleming's Steakhouse location for meaty meal worth having and would even be open to checking out some of their other locations as well.

Fleming's Steakhouse at L.A. Live
800 West Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 745-9911

Click here to see all the Fleming's Steakhouse locations!

Guess what? I'm hosting this event again for my Dining Group. Click here to RSVP and to get info on how to pre-pay for this Steak 101 Class and Lunch at Fleming's Steakhouse in L.A. Live.

(Open only to US Residents)

Armed with this new steak knowledge that I hopefully imparted to you, here's your chance to check out Fleming's Steakhouse for yourself where you could win a $100 Fleming's Steakhouse Gift Card for you to enjoy! This Gift Card will good for any Fleming's Steakhouse location in the US.

There are multiple ways to enter, so check them all out below.

1. Leave a comment and tell me why you'd like to win the $100 Fleming's Steakhouse Gift Card. (Please leave your email so that I can contact you. Spell it out like abby at pleasurepalate dot com)

2. Follow Executive Chef Russell Skall on Twitter (if you aren’t already doing so)

3. Follow Wine Director, Marian Jansen op de Haar on Twitter (if you aren't already doing so).

4. Fan Fleming's Steakhouse on Facebook (if you aren’t already doing so)

5. Tweet: Win a $100 Gift Card from Fleming's Steakhouse via @pleasurepalate:

You can have up to 5 total entries each; however, please note that you have to comment back and let me know which of the actions you took, so that I can keep track of them. This is especially true for 2 through 4. If you don’t let me know which actions you took, then I won’t count them as entries.

Contest ends Tuesday, April 13 at 11:59 AM, PST and a winner will be randomly chosen from all entries. Open only to US Residents. Good Luck!

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon



Lynda said...

(I forgot to leave my contact information... lyndagp at gmail dot com)

Lynda said...

Oooooh I hope I am lucky!! This would be an awesome place to take my boyfriend or my brother for their birthday. They are such steak lovers!

Lynda said...

I am now following RussellOnSteak on twitter (username oshkoshbgosh123)

Lynda said...

message retweeted!

Lynda said...

I am now following MarianOnWine on twitter (username oshkoshbgosh123)

Unknown said...

I love steak!

Peeved Michelle said...

Why do I want to win? Because I love steak!

peevedmichelle at yahoo dot come

Peeved Michelle said...

Followed @RussellOnSteak with my @webichelle account.

Anonymous said...

Who wouldn't love love love to win this? I've only recently been testing the waters of the great steak houses in LA having been pretty anti-red meat most of my life until now. I haven't yet made it to Flemings to see how it stacks up and this would be the perfect opportunity!

I just did #2-5 (following and fanned w/ @ambiggity )

Email is amber dot bechtel at gmail dot com

Peeved Michelle said...

Retweeted from from my @PeevedMichelle account

peevedmichelle at yahoo dot com

tallnoe said...

Oh, this is a great and informative article. I love it. I always get confused with the different cuts of meat, so this was a great way to learn about it. THANK YOU!!
I did alllll of the above.
Email is: noelle at eventsbynoelle dot com.


gourmetpigs said...

I want to take my guy friends here and feed them steak so they'll help me move :P

gourmetpigs at gmail dot com

and I also tweeted it :)

Leah H. said...

Abby, I think I should get the gift card because it would be the perfect gift to give myself for my birthday that is coming up next month!! And, that would allow me to treat a friend to go with me (or at least take some off of their bill). Plus, I LOVE steak!!

Oh, and I joined Fleming's FB page.


Traci L said...

My boyfriend is teaching me all about steak so it would be nice to take him to Fleming's!

Unknown said...

I LOVE STEAK and I've never been to Fleming's but I've heard great things about it! I hope I win! I would love to take my fiance to celebrate his new promotion!
(nataliekei at gmail dot com)

Unknown said...

Oops, forgot my email and twitter account

nataliekei - twitter
nataliekei at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

2. Follow Executive Chef Russell Skall on Twitter (if you aren’t already doing so) DONE

3. Follow Wine Director, Marian Jansen op de Haar on Twitter (if you aren't already doing so). DONE

4. Fan Fleming's Steakhouse on Facebook (if you aren’t already doing so) DONE

5. Tweet: Win a $100 Gift Card from Fleming's Steakhouse via @pleasurepalate: DONE


Anonymous said...

I'm following Flemings on Facebook. So I can take my WWII veteran dad there - he loves good steak:)

Lisa Carr

Anonymous said...

For my birthday a couple of years ago, my mom took me to Flemming's. Now her birthday is coming up and I would love to take her! My contact info is snb2207 at yahoo dot com.

Maggie Hark said...

This post made my mouth water! Also, it would be nice to be able to take my boyfriend out for dinner once in a while (since it is usually the other way around...I am in school and he has a job...)
Email is curlandbiz at gmail dot com

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

i just tweeted and followed also!

Jeff said...

I was fortunate to be able to attend this event before at Fleming's and learn about the deckle on a rib eye steak. My idea of nirvana on a cut of meat. Isn't it great when you learn a new word to describe something you love? Hopefully I'll win the $100 Fleming's gift card so I can return to this Mecca of meat.
keeno11 at yahoo dot com

Diana Davis said...

I Would love to win. I also "fanned" them on Facebook. Why should I win. Well, I haven't had a steak in over three years. The next one I have better be good. Also, my mother has decided to stop eating red meat because of "how the poor cows are treated". BUUUTTT she still eats fish, chicken, lamb and pork. I can't imagine they are really treated much better than cows!

She also still wears leather.

Doth a shrimp not dislike being yanked from the ocean? IS the cow who made your coach purse treated better than the one who made my hamburger?

So, I gotta eat HER portion of red meat this year to make up for it, and to justify all her leather handbags, shoes and such.

wavewench at yahoo dot com

DonnaMarie said...

I would love to win because it is my friends favorite restaurant, and I have not yet tried it.

donnamarie dot veg at gmail dot com

Jane Coombs said...

Our 33rd Anniversary is coming up. This would be a great place to take my better half to.
Thanks for the chance to hope.

Anonymous said...

Hi Abby -

I should win this because I am a card-carrying member of the
other PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals.

and steak is pretty darn tasty...

:) rollerblur at aol dot com

Anna said...

Why would I like to win this package? Because I've worked in downtown L.A. for almost a year now and there's a real lack of good lunch places in downtown L.A. and it'll be fun to treat my office mates to a great steak at Fleming's! :) It's almost my one-year anniversary here and Fleming's sounds like it would be the most awesome place to celebrate!

My email is

*crosses fingers + hopes I win!*

Meowmi said...

I would love to win b/c this is some seriously good steak. The ribeye gets me every time!

I did 1, 2, 4, and 5.

My email is joycesq at gmail dot com.

Thanks for putting this (and the Steak 101 meetup) together!

Jane Coombs said...

I guess I didn't follow the rules. Although the responses are being forwarded onto me. Go figure.
Here is my attempt to patch things up.
cherryswam at gmail dot com.

Drew Schatt said...

I love eating at Fleming's. A gift card would make it even nicer! schatt at schatt dot com.

Marie said...

Never been to Fleming's, but I have been wanting to have a steakhouse meal for basically the last year! Here's hoping! starchymarie at gmail dot com

ngobody said...

hi abby!thanks for hosting another giveaway.if i win this giveaway, i would like to give away this gift to my brother and sister-in law. they have been a great support for me. they are going to leave in 3 months to another state so that my brother can go to medical school. they are probably going to be away for many years. i will miss them dearly. they both love Fleming's, so this gift would be great for them. thanks!

i belong to blogspot too, so you should see my email.

Unknown said...

Ate---when do I find out when I win the gift card?!? It would be a great place to do a post bday celebration since I was not invited to Jocko's! :P But seriously, I love their mini filet, and bernaise (sp?) sauce and sauteed mushrooms! Their creme brulee is a great finish to a super meal!!!

angela@spinachtiger said...

I love steak, and we have a Flemings here in Nashville. I'd love to treat my husband.

spinachtiger at me dot com

Wandering Chopsticks said...

I love steak and have Fleming's on my list to try.

Unknown said...

I would love to take my Dad here; a steak aficianado in my eyes. We have one here in Chicago and it's one of the last few steak places he hasn't tried.

I'm now following the Chef and Wine Director at Flemings, have posted a comment here and tweeted about this giveaway. I'm not on Facebook, so can't become a fan- 4 out of 5 ain't bad ;)

Good Luck everyone!