Saturday, January 26, 2013

Another First for Northern California in Sacramento: Seasons 52

Seasons 52 on Urbanspoon

Sacramento is often seen as a great demographic area to try out new things. New movies, new grocery stores, new restaurants. Last year we got the first Fresh Market in Northern California and now we get the first Seasons 52 restaurant in Northern California.

This Seasons 52 is located in Arden Fair Mall where the old Fresh Choice used to be. It opens Monday. The area is beautifully remodeled and looks very high class with a Frank Lloyd Wright Crafsman look to the design - lots of wood with distinct lines. There are two private dining rooms that can be combined and have all the electronics for presentations. The outdoor patio area is attractive with comfortable seating and fire pits. In the bar area there is a entertainment every night of the week with a piano player situated in the center of large surrounding bar.  (See slide show below.)


a true Chef's Table located right off the kitchen
Seasons 52 is part of the Darden family of restaurants. More familiar to most Americans are their Red Lobster and Olive Garden chains. Move at least two notches up the dining scale and you get Seasons 52



As their name implies, Seasons 52 focuses on dishes reflecting seasonal produce from the area for the freshest flavor and nutrition - " seasonally-inspired with the fresh appeal of the farmer’s market." They try to preserve the flavors through the simplest preparations such as grilling and roasting. Interestingly, none of their menu items is over 475 calories and you can see the nutritional breakdown of the menu on their website. Don't expect Olive Garden sized plates of food here. Instead you'll find satisfying but smaller portions of good, healthy food. There are also special gluten-free, vegan, lactose-free, and low sodium menus.



There is quite a large wine cellar in each restaurant, called the "Chateau". They carry 100 selections, 60 of which you can buy by the glass.



I was lucky enough to be invited to a media wine pairing dinner with seven courses. Check out the glass settings at each seat. Each course was introduced by George Miliotes, Master Sommelier and Senior Director of Culinary, Clifford Pleau, who traveled here for the opening. 

After appetizers of their signature flatbreads, we sat down to courses that included grilled seafood, fresh salad, a simple but delicious ravioli, and an entree of quail and beef. The beef is a grass fed breed called Piedmontese that is special for being extremely lean and thus low in fat. 



 
Their desserts are all served shot glass style, called Mini Indulgences. A good idea for controlling going overboard with dessert, but a bit difficult to eat from in practice.

As for prices, flatbreads are around $9, entrees range from $15-$30, and those Mini Indulgences are $2.50. 

Everything was delicious although I wasn't a fan of the desserts. Keep in mind this was a media dinner and so this is not meant as a review of the food or service.

It will be interesting to see how Seasons 52 does. Is the economy in enough of a recovery for people to start dining up again? Will being in Arden Fair Mall be a benefit or a bad location? Will people embrace the low calorie menu which also means smaller plates? We'll see.
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