DiningDiarySquare-150x150 Wednesday, March 28, 2018. Mary Ann takes delivery on her missing car. What a deal! It cost us a mere $1774 for the wheels to be out of action. The cause of the problem was water spilled into the shifter which, we learn, is operated by an electrical gizmo that is sensitive to inundations. I will remember that. But it might not apply to me, since throughout my entire life I’ve driven only manual transmissions. As in clutch pedals.

In the meantime, the Marys are busy readying themselves for the closing tomorrow of Mary Leigh’s first house. That has been exciting for the Marys, because they view it as the first chapter in a business of their own. It’s a great match. Mary Ann is a negotiator–the kind you hear about on television who flips real estate for a living. ML, in the meantime, is a a deft designer, carpenter and builder. She does it all, including welding and painting. You’d never know she has these skills to look at her: a slim, young, energetic blonde. While she works on her house, she is also working full-time on a project in Mississippi that will go on for a couple of months. I’m proud of her.

Friday, March 30, 2018. The Closing. All went well and all the checks were written as my wife and my daughter (the Marys) close on their purchase a house that they will renovate and move into in–you would think–the next few minutes.

The Marys want to celebrate with dinner at Fleming’s Steak House, the new chain next to Lakeside Mall. MA in particular likes Flemings for its handsome environment. They both like the happy-hour menu, in which abbreviated versions of Fleming’s dishes are sold. This suits the Marys’ tastes perfectly.

However, not long after we arrived came a series of problems that would punctuate the service and food. Around town, power was going out unpredictably. On and off went the lights at Fleming’s. It was harmless enough for most, but I know of one man (me) who was in the men’s room when the lights went out totally. It was like being in Carlsbad Caverns when they turn the lights out. Total blackness. Not even a little green light on somebody’s telephone shone. I was right in the middle of an empty space when this happened, and didn’t know which way to move, if anywhere. Fortunately (and somebody could really have been hurt) the lights came back on in about two minutes with no ill effects.

But the lights kept going off and on, without blackness. You just couldn’t read the menu, or or know whether you were eating a crab cake or stuffed shrimp. The staff seemed to lose its orientation, in every sense of the word. We began hearing people talk about how great Ruth’s Chris Steak House is. But it’s likely they were having the same problems. The news guys were saying it was area-wide.

As for the food, I started with a lobster bisque that had a certain mass-production quality but otherwise is palatable. I have a New York strip that is grilled accurately and nicely trimmed. The price is in the low $50s, which is the going rate for steak houses of this caliber. The Marys split a filet mignon and an order of creamed spinach. I found the latter a little runny.

The electric problems kept coming, but they could not be blamed on the restaurant. I hope this is not a harbinger of the Marys’ big undertaking.

Fleming’s Steak House. Metairie: 3064 N. Causeway Blvd.. 504-799-0335.