Sometimes, it's hard getting out of the city (or, my Somerville bubble) for dinner. You're hungry/hangry, and anything but excited to fight rush hour traffic for a meal. But sometimes, the "trip" is worth every bite.
Seasons 52 - which has over 30 locations nationwide - just opened their first Massachusetts location last week in Burlington. The restaurant focuses on seasonally inspired menus that pair with their award-winning international wine list, with a heavy emphasis on healthy food. After all, nothing on the restaurant's menu exceeds 475 calories.
Before their official opening last Thursday, I was invited to a preview dinner in one of their handful of private dining rooms. I was also fortunate enough to get a tour of the massive space, complete with an open, sparkling clean kitchen, and the comfortable yet stunning bar area, which had a pianist playing.
Our meal was meant to showcase some of Seasons 52's best dishes, each paired with a specific wine picked by their Master Sommelier, George Miliotes. (Side note: With that being said, all meals pictured are not their actual size - they're smaller than the typical portions).
Our evening began with Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Sainte Anne Brut Champagne and two flatbreads (not pictured). The flatbreads included Trio of Roasted Mushrooms and Chipotle Shrimp. The shrimp flatbread was definitely a crowd favorite, topped with roasted poblanos, grilled pineapple, and feta cheese.
Once we sat down for dinner, we were brought an amuse-bouche of Lump Crab and Haas Avocado, which sat atop some fresh pico de gallo. This was a lovely bite that was packed with flavor, and notes of toasted cumin were apparent throughout. This was paired with an Aveleda Vinho Verde, Portugal 2011.
Our first course was the Organic Salmon and Lemongrass Sea Scallop Roasted on a Cedar Plank (the plank is a Seasons 52 specialty). The salmon - which is farmed in Canada or the Atlantic Ocean - was flaky, juicy, and well-seasoned. The cedar plank provided a great oaky flavor without being overpowering. This dish was paired with a Mer Soleil Chardonnay, Central Coast 2010.
Next up was the Baby Spinach Salad, comprised of Asian pears, toasted pine nuts, crumbled Gorgonzola, and a white balsamic vinaigrette. The salad was tossed in just enough vinaigrette, thanks to Seasons 52's method of tossing: they simply line the bowl with some of the vinaigrette, then toss the greens from there. (Um, why have I never thought to do it that way??).
The salad was paired with Casillero del Diablo Viognier, Casablanca 2012.
My favorite course of the evening was the Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli, served with harvest vegetables, black mushrooms, and roasted onion jus. I was originally afraid that the goat cheese filling would be too rich, but it was just rich enough. The tangy cheese paired with the savory jus (which also had apple cider in it) was a phenomenal combination, and the homemade pasta was wonderfully delicate. The ravioli was paired with a Retromarcia, Chianti Classic 2010.
For the second-to-last course, the rest of the group was served an Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon and Roasted Manchester Farms Quail, served with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and a red wine demi glaze. Seasons 52 was kind enough to serve me one of their Vegetarian Tasting plates, featuring cedar-roasted tofu with mango chutney, butternut squash with fresh cranberries, Brussels sprouts, a portobello mushroom, carrots, and some broccolini. I also had a side of the mashed potatoes.
The Vegetarian Tasting plate was good, but nothing very impressive. It unfortunately lacked seasoning, and each component didn't really mesh well with the other. The mashed potatoes, on the other hand, were incredible - especially considering Seasons 52 doesn't even have butter in their kitchen (true story). These were rich, comforting, and full of flavor.
For dessert, we were served a tray of Seasons 52's Mini Indulgences, which are individual servings of classic desserts.
Our tray included: carrot cake; mocha macchiato; Kentucky bourbon pecan pie; chocolate and peanut butter mousse over chocolate cake; Belgian chocolate rocky road; key lime pie; pumpkin chiffon mousse; market fresh fruit; and cannoli with raspberry and chocolate chips. I tried a little bit of almost every one, but my favorite was the chocolate and peanut butter mousse.
Seasons 52 clearly cares about the food they prepare, how they treat their customers, and the wine they pour. I was really impressed with the staff, most of the food, and all of the wine we sampled. I would definitely return to Seasons 52 again.
Have you ever been to a Seasons 52 location? If so, what was your experience?
This meal was complimentary. All opinions are my own.