There is something very intriguing about any event that lends its name to the speakeasies of the Prohibition era. From the back door entrances, to the ever-changing secret door knocks and passwords, and most importantly, the classic cocktails, a Speakeasy provides the platform for an exciting night out – which no one is really supposed to know about. Little did we know that we were going to be transported back to the roaring twenties on the evening of the Fleming’s Steakhouse five course dress-up themed speakeasy dinner.
The night began with a secret knock on a door that was preceded by a walk through a pathway alongside the back of the restaurant. After trying our “knock” a few times and finally getting it right, the door was opened to a private room. Themed music piped through the airwaves as we were greeted by ladies (or “dolls” as they were so called during the Prohibition era) dressed in sequin drop-waist dresses, feathers, long pearls, and flapper shoes. Even the men got into the glitz, glamour and style of the 1920’s as they sported suspenders, fedoras, tuxes, and zoot suits.
Although we were going to enjoy some delicious cuisine, the evening was focused on the cocktails and the entertainment as well. We were seated at tables of eight and were immediately served our first concoction and a few playing cards. Yes, playing cards! In addition to the enjoying a five-course meal, we were kicking off a live game of Blackjack emceed by Operating Partner, Sam Governale (AKA our hostess with the mostess). After announcing the prizes (that included $50 Fleming’s gift cards) the crowd immediately went into competition mode as you heard “hit me one more time” from each corner of the room all in the hopes of nailing a sum of 21.
In “juice joint” fashion, the cocktail pairings were the first to arrive at the table for each course. We began with a refreshing Champagne Cobbler which was paired with a Spiced Shrimp Arancini. Next, the clean and slightly savory Cilantro Collins made its way to our table and the Scallop Carpaccio was the perfect companion. We noticed a theme after the first two courses – the strong cocktails seemed complex but were quite simple which fits perfectly into the Prohibition era and the pairings were spot on in balancing milder flavors with bold ingredients and aromatic flavors with more savory items.
As we progressed through the evening, it was time to move on to the main courses. The balanced Black Peppercorn & Arugula Gimlet and the flavorful Beef Carpaccio Salad were sure hits but the Heavy New York Sour and the Porcini Crusted Filet (served with gorgonzola cream) were the most memorable. The richness of the cocktail played well with the earthy and nutty flavor of the Porcini mushrooms and the tender beef. We ended the night with a Bourbon Nitecap. This dessert cocktail expanded on the sweet and sinful flavors of the Chocolate Flourless Cake.
In the words of the group, the Four Seasons, whose hit song was originally about the repeal of Prohibition with the title of “December 5th, 1933”, “Oh what a night!”
Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Heavy New York Sour
1 part Glenfiddich 15
2/4 parts fresh lemon juice
3/4 parts simple syrup
4 dashes Dale DeGroff Pimento bitters
1/2 egg white
Combine ingredients and shake very well. Strain over ice in a rocks glass.