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Fine wine and good steak abound at Fleming’s

To many meat-and-potato eaters in the La Jolla area, there’s nothing like a good steak dinner and a glass of fine wine. You can get your fill of both at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar in the Hyatt Aventine complex.

Fleming’s is famous for its steaks, each one hand-cut daily and broiled at 1,600 degrees to seal in the juices and flavor. There’s never a problem getting the meat cooked exactly to your liking either, whether you prefer rare, well-done or any variation in between.

You would expect a fine wine list at a great steakhouse, and of course Fleming’s fits the bill in that department. What you may not expect - and what very few restaurants can provide - is an enormous selection of wines by the glass.

Fleming’s fine wine list offers no less than 100 renowned wines by the glass. You can also experiment with a trio of two-ounce servings in Fleming’s Wine Vine, and the restaurant’s climate-controlled wine rooms ensure that every glass is served at optimum temperature. For that special occasion, check out the Reserve List of 80 award-winning wines available by the bottle.

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When you sit down at your table, the waiter will bring you a complimentary cheese dip and celery tray to start you off, but with an appetizer menu as exciting as Fleming’s, you’ll surely want to sample at least one of the more than a dozen starters.

We have several favorites, including the lobster tempura with tempura vegetables ($25). This is surely one of the hottest appetizers at Fleming’s. The chilled seafood tower with lobster, shrimp, crab and seasonal selections is available for groups of two ($57) or four ($98). What a treat for sharing.

The tenderloin carpaccio with caper creole mustard sauce and red onion ($11.95) is memorable, as is the seared ahi tuna on a fresh vegetable salad ($12.95).

Don’t pass up the salad either. The fresh mozzarella and sweet tomato salad is excellent. Likewise for “The Wedge,” with crisp iceberg lettuce with grape tomatoes and crumbled blue cheese. They’re priced $8.50 and $7.95, respectively. Another good salad selection is the spinach and portobello with crispy goat cheese crouton ($8.50).

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If you’re not hungry enough for a steak dinner, you might enjoy the seafood chopped salad with olives, artichoke, asparagus, blue cheese and vinaigrette ($11.95). This makes a wonderful light meal for one, or share it with at least two others for an appetizer. The salad is loaded with chunks of crab and shrimp.

When it comes to the main course, you have several options under the steak category. One of the tastiest is the prime bone-in ribeye ($37.95 for a 22-ounce cut). It’s hard to find a more full-bodied and delicious cut. Naturally, you’ll be asking for a doggie bag with this one, but it will be just as tasty for lunch the following day.

Filet mignon is another favorite, and you can opt for an eight-ounce cut ($28.95) or a 12-ounce piece ($32.95). The beef Lemington wraps the filet in puff pastry with a mushroom duxelle and Madeira sauce ($29.95), and the chef’s mixed grill can pair a bacon-wrapped filet with scallops, depending on the chef’s whim.

Along with the popular steak selections, the menu offers a veal chop with bearnaise sauce ($34.95), three double-thick Australian lamb chops broiled with champagne mint sauce ($31.95), and double breast of chicken baked in white wine with mushrooms, shallot and thyme ($22.50).

Seafood lovers can choose from at least five fish offerings, plus a daily special. Among the choices are tuna mignon seared rare ($28.95) and Alaskan King crab legs with drawn butter (Market Price).

The atmosphere at Fleming’s is rich and inviting. Wood-paneled walls lined with wine bottles, roomy tables and booths beautifully set with white linen cloths and napkins, and handsome contemporary glass chandeliers that cast a rosy glow on the restaurant are all part of the elegant decor. The striking wine room has glass doors to let you admire the bottles on hand. Not surprising, Fleming’s has chalked up many awards for excellence in its wine collection.

Service is a major part of the dining experience, and Fleming’s has a highly professional wait staff to serve you. The well-stocked bar is attractive too, and it’s hidden behind the dining room. The huge open kitchen is located on the other side of the restaurant.

Valet parking is available right outside the door, so the next time you feel like sinking your teeth into a delicious steak dinner with all the trimmings, make Fleming’s your destination and enjoy the wine as much as the meal.

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Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar is at 8970 University Center Lane. Call (858) 535-0078.