Fleming's Happy Hour: 5 for $6 'till 7

Seared tuna at Fleming's: $6 until 7 p.m.

One of the many good things about being a food writer is that people always tell you where to eat. My neighbor Lil has mentioned more than once how much she likes the happy hour specials at Fleming’s Steakhouse, so Tony and I decided to check it out.

If like me you’re a bit put off by Fleming’s prices, here’s your opportunity to have delicious food at an affordable price.  Called “5 for $6 ‘till 7,” the happy hour bar specials offer five cocktails, five wines by the glass and five appetizers. Each drink or dish is priced at $6 and served until 7 p.m.

I know the 5-6-7 description sounds a little confusing, but trust me on this: There’s a reason the bar is busy and the stools are full.  I start off with a kick-ass “Vintage Vodka Martini” made with Smirnoff. The glass is so icy and full that I have to slide it across the table to get a sip. After the first taste, Im planning martini number two. At $6 each, why stop at one? Tony orders an Amstel ($3) served in a tall chilled beer glass.

In just a few minutes, the food comes rolling out: a gorgeous plate of crispy calamari tossed with a sweet chili sauce ($6); eight slices of perfectly seared tuna resting on top of a carrot and jicama slaw (6); and Fleming’s prime cheese burger ($6). The cheeseburger is a sight to behold: a juicy burger served with two large onion rings, a wedge of iceberg lettuce and Russian dressing, and three adorable little dishes of mustard, ketchup and mayo.

“It’s something else for $6,” agrees our server Tamara Goldstein. “After  7, the price doubles to $12.

Three appetizers are more than enough for two, but we go ahead and order barbecue shrimp just for fun. The dish has too much sauce for me. Tony disagrees.

On our next visit a week later (we can't stay away) we repeat our burger and tuna orders but add toasted ravioli stuffed with portobello mushrooms. The large ravioli are smothered in a lovely sauce made, according to our bartender, from mushroom dust and lots of butter (hey, it's Fleming's!).

Since our first visit, the happy hour beer also changed to Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen, a beer made in Portland. Price: two beers served in a frosted glass for $6. Or, if you're driving home, one Widmer for $3.
Fleming's Steakhouse, 6245 Poplar, (761-6200) Monday through Friday, 5 to 9 a.m., Sunday, 4 to 9 p.m.


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