Thursday, August 26, 2010

Welcome to the Neighborhood Seasons 52

Seasons 52
3333 Bristol Avenue Suite #2802
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Katie and I recently got the opportunity to get a sneak preview of the new restaurant Seasons 52, which is in the old Clubhouse spot at South Coast Plaza. Seasons 52 is a restaurant chain that is based in Florida, and has spread out to have 11 units in six states. This will be their first restaurant west of the Mississippi. Their concept is that every week of the year, the menu strives to feature the freshest ingredients possible. They also try to do all of this, while offering healthy, lower calorie menu items. In fact, there are no items on their menu that are above 475 calories.

Here are a few shots I took, to give you a feel for the ambiance of the place. They have an outdoor patio that has two fire pits. The second picture is of the chef's table, which can be reserved in advance. They plan on having nightly entertainment in the piano bar. But enough of all this talk let's take a look at the food.

Before we were seated, we were treated to some of their signature Flatbreads. The first was the Chipotle Shrimp with Roasted Poblanos, Grilled Pineapple, and Feta Cheese. Both Katie and I, thought that this was the better of the two flatbreads that we were served. Very good, mild flavor on this one. The other flatbread was Black Mission Fig with Chevre, Bacon, Mint, and Arugula. This one was a little too mellow for me, it was good, but not as good as the other one.

After a short, meet and greet period, we were called to the dining room. We had lunch with about fifteen fellow blogger's, and journalists. Here is a picture of the place setting. Notice all the wine glasses? I could tell this was going to be a fun lunch.

The amuse that was served was Lump Crab and Haas Avocado on a pico de gallo mixture. Katie liked the pairing of all of these flavors. I liked this, but was not wowed by it. The crab did not have that pop of flavor you usually expect with crab.

The next course that was served was Wild Pacific Salmon and Sea Scallop, roasted on a cedar plank. Both Katie and I felt that this salmon was one of the best we have had recently, and it was very moist. It was rubbed with a mustard/malt vinegar mixture. The scallop was cooked perfectly, and I only wish I could have had more scallops. 

Next up was our salad. They made an Organic Green Salad with Grilled Mushrooms and Truffle Dressing. At first this salad did not impress me, but as the salad absorbed the dressing, it became better. Katie loved the taste of the rich truffle dressing.

This was Katie's favorite dish of the lunch, the Goat Cheese Ravioli with Roasted Garlic, Basil and Light Tomato Broth.. I am not much of a goat cheese person, but the creaminess of this was good, and the light sauce used over this really had a great flavor. To cut down on calories they use egg roll wrappers instead of noodles, and you would not miss the noodles a bit on this.

This was of course my favorite dish of the lunch, the Grilled Lamb and Quail Breast. I thought the lamb had some parts that were good, but some bites were spotty. The real star of this plate was the quail. It was cooked perfectly, had a great texture and was flavored just enough. These were unusual meats for Katie to try, but she liked them enough to eat most of it. She was really more impressed by the baby bok choy that came with this.

For dessert we enjoyed these Mini Indulgences. These little shot glasses of dessert were invented by Seasons 52, to fit into their philosophy of healthy eating, and keeping the calorie count of their dishes below 475. Katie's favorite was the Mocha Macchiato, (no big surprise there, what with her Starbucks addiction and everything), I enjoyed the Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse.

Now for a few words on the wine. Master Sommelier, George Miliotes has put together a wine list that has over 100 bottles of wine, and 60 that are served by the glass. After talking with him, we found out that he travels the world trying to find new wines for Seasons 52, and takes annual trips to South Africa, Germany, and other places in search of adding to the wine list.

We had a great lunch at Seasons 52. Chef Pleau demonstrated a few tricks of the trade, and we got to sample what they had to offer. The staff seems very eager to open up on the west coast. They feel that this is a concept that was built for California, but just happened to be invented in Florida. Only time will tell if they are right about that. But, if this special sneak preview holds true, they might be on to something. We are looking forward to going back when they are open and review the place.

For more information on Seasons 52, click here:

Seasons 52 on Urbanspoon

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