>I was definitely a little skeptical when I found out that the menu at Seasons 52 consists of nothing over 475 calories per item. However, if one was to open a so-called low calorie restaurant, then South Coast Plaza is definitely the ideal location with all the celebrities and OC ladies-who-lunch constantly swarming here to see and be seen.
The restaurant itself has undergone a make-over from its predecessor, The Club House, and a classy new decor has replaced the dated, dreary look of yesterday. The dark wooden hues give Seasons 52 a relaxed yet chic atmosphere in which diners can grab a casual meal with friends or enjoy a romantic evening out for two. The bar area boasts a few booths and the stools encircling the bar itself is also cozy enough for those wishing to enjoy the extensive wine list on offer. Best of all, the full menu is available for those wanting a bite to eat with their drinks. The dining room offers booths as well as table seating, and should you wish for a more intimate setting, say, perhaps, a dinner party, there is the Chef’s Table which comfortably seats 10-12. If you are looking for something more casual, there is always the patio.
On our recent visit here, the atmosphere was certainly buzzing and the dining room was packed with diners all wanting to check out the new kid on the block. Our server Terri was delightful and highly knowledgeable helping us with questions we had with the menu. The sommelier also recommended a wine for us to enjoy with the meal — Selbach Riesling Spatlese — which, incidently, was the perfect accompaniment with every dish we had ordered!
The menu here is seasonal and at the moment, an autumnal menu is being served, and on top of that, there are chef’s suggestions on the right hand panel of the menu including soup, appetizer, entree depending on which night you’re dining on as well as wines to be paired with those items.
We selected the specialty flatbread with black Mission Bay figs, chevre, bacon, mint and wild arugula. At $8.50, this was definitely a very reasonable, yet delicious choice to start. Figs and chevre are two excellent combinations no matter how you look at it and the addition of bacon adds a hint of saltiness while the wild argula and mint brings a touch of freshness.
Caramelized crab and shrimp stuffed mushrooms with roasted garlic and parmesan cheese arrived on an ‘escargot’ plate and isn’t heavy and creamy like how it traditionally is. The roasted garlic is very subtle, in fact, I barely tasted it at all which is good if you only like a hint of it. There is a light sprinkling of parmesan cheese — just enough to give it flavor without overpowering it. The dungeness crab was also very fresh and flaky.
My friend and I selected poultry and seafood for our entrees. The Manchester Farms boneless quail breast with mission figs, smashed sweet potato and bourbon chili glaze was a generous portion in itself which was surprising due to its 475 calorie limit. The quail was tender, however, the bourbon chili glaze was neither bourbon nor chili in flavor and it made the skin on the quail rubbery. I would’ve been happy with simply, just the quail.
Caramelized sea scallops grilled and served with sun dried tomato “pearl pasta” –essentially, Israeli couscous — and roasted asparagus again was highly generous consisting of six very large scallops. We inquired about the sauce that came with this dish and were told that it was a chicken au jus. Both my friend and I were perplexed as to the use of chicken au jus on the scallops because the scallops were awesome enough to stand on its own. The sauce did nothing to enhance the scallops, in fact, it did quite the opposite. The only thing those grilled scallops needed was a squeeze of juice from the carmelized lemon and they would’ve been perfect!
By now we were both rather full and I’ve never been one to be terribly excited about dessert. In fact, I’m usually the one who would opt to skip dessert, but after I saw the presentation of the “mini indulgences”, I was hooked. After I tried them, I was completely hooked, lined and sinkered by how delicious and captivating they were.
Meyer lemon poundcake had the subtle flavors of the meyer lemon with bits of pound cake interspersed throughout the elongated shot glass it was served in while the key lime pie was tart with the crunchiness of the graham cracker in every spoonful.
If you are a chocolate lover, the Belgian chocolate rocky road might be your indulgence, but my ultimate favorite was the chocolate peanut butter mousse….. I just couldn’t stop eating it. In fact, I am ashamed to say, that I’ve been claiming to “not be a fan of desserts’ because clearly, I’ve been lying! The selection at Seasons 52 has definitely made me fall in love with sweets.
Whether you’re catching a show at the Performing Arts Center, celebrating a birthday or anniversary, grabbing dinner with the girls or simply, just wanting something to eat in between shopping, I highly recommend giving Seasons 52 a try! If not for a meal, then just go in and get one or two (or three) desserts and you will immediately be wooed enough to come back again!
Seasons 52 at South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Tel: 714-437-5252