Written by Anita
April 10, 2011
'Tis the season...for Seasons 52 that is! This Florida import (the company’s first restaurant opened in Orlando in 2003) will open its 17th location in North Bethesda, MD on Monday, April 11.
The restaurant’s concept is simple: serve seasonally-inspired dishes featuring fresh produce 52 weeks a year. In keeping with that healthful theme, Seasons 52 uses organic and local food whenever possible and no menu item is over 475 calories. (Don’t believe it? Check out the nutritional chart here.) A variety of cooking techniques (including wood-fire grilling with mesquite, hickory, and oak, charcoal grilling, and brick-oven baking) give dishes full flavor without the typical fat and calories.
Wine takes center stage here too, with over 2,000 wines (60 by the glass and 100 by the bottle) hand-selected by George Miliotes, the 152nd of 180 master sommeliers in the world as certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers. He offers a Wine Spectator award-winning international wine list featuring 26 varietals from 13 countries.
At a recent preview, we sampled some of what Seasons 52’s spring menu has to offer. Start your meal with the mushroom salad—Earthbound Farm organic greens mixed with earthy oak-grilled mushrooms, toasted pinenuts, and rich truffle dressing. The salad is presented with “cylinder service,” a flourish that gives a dramatic start to the meal. Up for a pasta course? Then try the Sonoma goat cheese ravioli—a feather-light fold of tender pasta filled with creamy goat cheese, surrounded by red and yellow cherry tomato halves and slices of fragrant roasted garlic swimming in a clear tomato broth, and topped with shredded fresh basil and curls of cheese. Our favorite entree was the moist, certified-organic Atlantic salmon (from the Shetland Islands).* Roasted on a cedar plank, it is accompanied by crisp asparagus, whole roasted baby carrots, and golden and ruby red beets roasted in their skins. Dietary restrictions? No problem! Seasons 52 offers alternative menus for lactose, gluten, sodium, and garlic-challenged diners as well as vegans and vegetarians.
Dessert here can be an event all its own. Seasons 52 offers an array of “sweet indulgences”—beautiful mini-parfaits in a variety of flavors. Our favorites included the airy Key Lime Pie (graham cracker crust crumbles layered with tart key lime filling and topped with whipped cream) and the homey Old Fashioned Carrot Cake (carrot cake layered with sweet cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with plump golden raisins). Need a reason to try them all? Celebrate with the mini indulgence “cake,” customized with 18 of your favorite flavors.
For those looking for a new happy hour spot, pre- or post-dinner drink, or just a place to enjoy live music, check out Seasons 52’s huge wrap-around piano bar, featuring a singing pianist nightly. Cocktails feature fresh seasonal fruits and wines are available in small pours so that you’re sure to find your favorite. Oven-baked custom flatbreads pair perfectly with whatever libation you choose.
Want a more intimate experience? Three private dining rooms (Napa, Sonoma, and Carneros) and six private dining menus are available. Rooms can host private functions or corporate events and offer free access to over $10,000 worth of state-of-the-art audio/video equipment as well as wireless internet access. Or reserve the handsomely appointed chef’s table (two chef’s tasting menus are available) alongside Seasons 52’s spacious open kitchen. In warm weather, an outdoor patio will accommodate al fresco dining.
Can’t make it up to North Bethesda? Then plan now to check out Seasons 52’s Virginia location, coming to the Tysons Corner Center mall this summer. One more reason to look forward to the next change in season!
*Want to make this at home? Here’s the recipe:
Cedar Plank Roasted Salmon (serves 4)
- Chef’s tip: Soak cedar planks (available at gourmet grocery stores) overnight in water.
4 fresh premium salmon filets, preferably wild or organic (6-8 oz each, boneless, skinless)
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon malt vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (plus some for planks)
- Combine marinade ingredients in a small glass dish. Coat salmon filets with marinade and marinate for one hour.
- Pre-heat oven to 475°.
- Rub pre-soaked cedar planks with extra virgin olive oil.
- Place salmon filets on cedar planks and season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
- Roast salmon 8-10 minutes (depending on size of filets).
- Serve with lemon and your favorite side dishes