Friday, September 3, 2010
Seasons 52 has just celebrated their opening on August 30th at the South Coast Plaza. I missed the media luncheon but was fortunate to score an invitation back to check out this new addition to Orange County. Just two days after opening day, they are packed to the brim. Everyone is buzzing about Seasons 52. This is their 12th installment. Hard to imagine that their first store only opened up in 2003.
So what is Seasons 52? They focus on the health and environmentally conscious consumers. Everything on the menu is 475 calories or less! At first when I heard that Seasons 52 was a new healthy restaurant I almost decided not to go. lol If you read my reviews, I am not very health conscious and I give negative points to people trying to feed me vegetables. >_<# Still, I was invited and decided that it's definitely worth a visit. They also have a piano man sitting inside the bar area daily starting at 6 PM. A great place to grab a few drinks and enjoy the live music. Along with healthy and sustainable creations they have a vast wine selection to pair with the meal. The list has has been carefully selected by their Master Sommelier, George Miliotes, who's the 152nd Master Sommelier in the world. Leading the culinary team is Chef Tim Kast, who has been a prominent chef in OC. Using many local farms and resources, he creates a seasonal menu.
To start off the evening we ordered the Grilled Steak & Cremini Mushroom Flatbread topped off with Spinach and Wisconsin Blue Cheese. The flatbread contains 8 slices and all of it is under 475 calories? Can it be true?
Their seasonal flatbread was the Black Mission Fig and Chevre topped off with Neuske's Bacon, Mint, and Wild Arugula. I love fresh slices of fig and how can I ever say no to bacon. This was very light and had a nice contrast of sweet & savory.
They may be called flatbreads but they surely aren't flat. A side view of the Black Mission Fig and Chevre. Even though it is low calorie it isn't a small portion.
Today's soup was Chicken Tortilla. The soup was actually very hearty. For me, the main thing missing was thin slices of tortilla chips to give that extra crunch. Of course that would probably turn the healthy soup into very unhealthy. O=)
One item that definitely caught my eyes was the Caramelized Dungeness Crab & Shrimp Stuffed Mushrooms with Roasted Garlic and Monterey Jack Cheese. The serving dish was reminiscent of what you would see if you ordered escargot. On top of the mushroom was a lump of crab meat and sealed off with two pieces of shrimp. Be sure to eat it as close to one bite as possible because all the flavor sunk into the bottom where the mushroom lies. I enjoyed picking off the melting cheese on top of the plate at the end.
The Hamachi Tataki with Avocado, Toasted Pistachios, Mandarin Oranges, Mint, and Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette sounded very tasty. You actually get 6 hearty slices of hamachi and tons of greens to make this a very filling appetizer.
I thought about changing things up with the Spicy Chicken Chile Relleno with Goat Cheese and Spinach on top of Pico de Gallo. The stuffed chile was huge! It's really hard to imagine that you can eat so much and still be under 475 calories.
For doubters or anyone curious, I peeled back the top layer to reveal what the filling is inside the chile relleno. This alone can be a meal.
To pair with the flatbreads, appetizers, and seafood courses I chose to get a glass of Selbach-Oster Kabinett, Mosel '07. A light fruity and subtle sweet white wine to enhance the natural flavors of the dishes.
On the specials was a Mesquite-Grilled Tazmanian Trout with Mushrooms, Noodles, Toasted Sesame Seeds, and San Miguel Farms Bok Choy. The trout was nicely grilled and tasty. On top was red bell peppers and ginger. Once again, the amount of food you get and still be under 475 calories is quite amazing. This was definitely my favorite seafood dish of the night. I wish Seasons 52 was around earlier because I prefer this hearty dish any day over a Lean Cuisine!
The Caramelized Sea Scallops caught my attention because I wanted to see how scallops would look and taste after caramelization. It's a generous serving of 7 scallops surrounding the Roasted Asparagus and Sun-dried Tomato Pearl Pasta, which really was just Cous-Cous. The scallops were glistening and nicely seared, keeping the center pretty tender. My Aunt really loved the texture and flavor of the cous-cous.
Chef Tim Kast highly recommended the Cedar Plank Roasted Salmon served with Babe Farms Rainbow Carrots, Asparagus, and Red Bliss Potatoes. Atop the cedar plank was a generous serving of salmon that truly absorbed the woodsy taste. This was a very healthy dish filled with vegetables, but not for me. I enjoyed the trout a lot more because of the components and the sauce.
For the meat courses I chose to get a glass of Petite Sirah Markham, Napa '04. A subtle blackberry flavor amidst the spicy richness and strong tannins.
Roasted Rack of New Zealand Lamb with Mint Pesto, Potatoes, Haricots Vert, and Balsamic Red Onions. Six pieces of tender lamb chops and a hearty serving of vegetables constitute a meal under 475 calories? Can I claim to be even healthier by just consuming the meat and leaving the veggies behind? My strategy of healthy eating. =)
Once I saw that they had quail on the menu, I had to have it. They serve Manchester Farms Boneless Quail Breast with Mission Figs, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and a medley of greens. You get 4 generous sized quail breasts topped with a slice of fig.
Last but definitely not least were the desserts! Beautifully presented at the table. I just love looking at the Mini Indulgences. Of course it doesn't get so mini if you are greedy like me and want to try them all! lol I was tempted to keep the whole tray and just dig in! It took a lot of self control but I limited down which ones to try.
The Key Lime Pie was delicious because it was lighter than the chocolates and the graham cracker crust layers were amazing. I enjoy the tartness of key lime along with the sweetness of being a dessert. Our friendly server recommended the Mocha Macchiato that was on the lighter side for a chocolate dessert. Not too sweet and a hint of coffee. This really reminded me of a mini sample of tiramisu. I was really looking forward to the Pecan Pie over Vanilla Mousse. My favorite part is nutty pecan layer and the most dangerously sweet part of dessert!
It's surprising how much food you can consume and still be under 475 calories here. Of course you sacrifice a little of the taste and saltiness to keep the dishes healthy. Considering everything here is pretty healthy and the portions are pretty generous, it's not too bad in taste. The desserts were delicious probably because they are the smallest item on the menu with the same amount of calories. O=) The cups are just too adorable!
Looking back on everything my Aunt and I ate... it really wasn't that healthy anymore! O=) Still we reasoned that at least each dish was under 475 calories. In the beginning we were counting the calories but decided that it would be too scary at the end and just sit back, stop thinking, and enjoy the meal. Everyone was super friendly and the service was impeccable. Our server was very sweet and attentive. Seasons 52 has definitely changed my mind on healthy eating. Why stay home and suffer with a diet frozen dinner when you can get freshly cooked meals here?
3333 Bristol Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92626