Since we are all recovering from binging on fried goodness at the State Fair, mosey on over to the new Seasons 52 at NorthPark mall where you, shockingly, won’t find the word ‘fried’ or ‘butter’ on the menu. It will be easy to get yourself back on track with fresh, seasonal food where nothing on the menu is over 475 calories. Stop whining. It’s good. It was also good to be part of a group of invited media to sample through the menu.
Chef Clifford Pleau directs Seasons 52 and has collected awards from places such as Food & Wine and Wine Spectator magazines. His vision is one of healthy, market-inspired food served in an approachable and sophisticated atmosphere. No less emphasis is placed on the outstanding wine list led by Master Sommelier George Miliotes.
As an example, Chef Pleau explained that the organic salmon was treated right before it ended up perfectly cooked on our plate. Given plenty of room to swim and frolic, the salmon feasted on an all–marine diet resulting in a rich taste where a heavy sauce wasn’t needed.
The innovation extends to the salads as well. The Portobello field green salad is first served in a glass “chimney” allowing the savory aroma to hit you before you get a taste. It’s a clever presentation that evokes the old-school French cloche.
Seasons 52 is the largest user of Sonoma-based Laura Chenel goat cheese. Upwards of three tons of this cheese is used per month in dishes such as the straightforward goat cheese ravioli. This dish was paired with the fun and light Pinot Gris Rosé from Vista Hills. The healthier viewpoint extends into the entrees where the leaner Piedmontese steak is served alongside mashed sweet potatoes made simply with fat-free (!) sour cream. This dish was paired with the outstanding Alto Moncayo Garnacha, Campo de Borja 2009, and was delicious, yet not too heavy.
Finally, Chef Pleau explained that try as he might, he could not come up with a consistently satisfying way to make low-calorie desserts. A few years back he decided to make full-flavor regular desserts but serve them in mini containers; a technique that has caught on throughout the industry.
Don’t lie. You know you can pack on 10 pounds of holiday love this time of year and Seasons 52 proves you can eat well without having to move like Jabba.