new summer items at Seasons 52

It’s that time of year again when Seasons 52 changes its menu to welcome the warmer weather. Their summer 2012 menu launched last week and among the favorites which remain on the existing menu, you will see a handful of new delicious additions which are sure to be a hit.

I was invited to a preview of the new dishes and before we get into the food, let’s start with some of the new refreshing cocktails they have for you. Strawberry Lemonade Euphoria is one of those drinks and I loved it. It was smooth with a hint of sweetness from the strawberries.

The other drink was Watermelon Refresher, taking the most advantage of this fruit which there is just an abundance of during summer time. Both of these cocktails uses Atlantico Rum, a spirit label by singer Enrique Iglesias.

we started off with two flatbreads — the restaurant is famous for these paper thin appetizers — first, BBQ Chicken, chunks of glazed BBQ chicken, balsamic caramelized onions, sliced scallions and melted Parmesan cheese over the crisp flatbread.

Then, vegetarians can enjoy the Artichoke & Goat Cheese which also includes leaf spinach, balsamic caramelized onions and roasted peppers.

One of my favorites was the Chilled Lobster & Shrimp Spring Roll, a take on the Vietnamese banh cuon. These are filled with sweet crustacean, glass noodles and shreds of carrots. Served with three dipping sauces: sweet hot red chili (similar to a sweet Thai chili sauce), aromatic lemongrass (a mayo-based sauce) and cool salsa verde (a tomatillo based sauce) — the latter being my ultimate fave!

There were quite a few vegetarian offerings and Organic Arugula Salad was a lovely example. The salad is ample and generous with grilled golden beets, chunks of smooth goat cheese, jicama, sweet watermelon and toasted pistachio for crunch. The dressing is aromatic flavored with cumin so if you aren’t a cumin fan (which seems there are quite a few people out there), you might want to ask for the dressing on the side. I love cumin and thought it really worked especially on the watermelon.

I was quite impressed by the Summer Vegetarian Tasting, a platter of non-meat items sure to please everyone, including carnivores. Included is a soft taco filled with black beans and julienned cabbage, “grains of life” which is a farro and quinoa salad, chili relleno and an absolutely DELICIOUS roasted tofu seasoned with hints of curry.

Next came the proteins and the Wild Alaskan Copper River Salmon was surprisingly good. I’m not usually a fan of cooked salmon but this was prepared well with the fish still moist and tender on the inside. The accompanying corn risotto was subtle relying on the creamed corn sauce it was sitting in to give it an added boost. I squeezed the grilled lemon halve over the entire dish which gave it an added freshness all around. I also tasted the dill ┬ásauce which went perfectly with the fish.

Last season saw Piedmontese veal, and this season, that dish has been replaced by Piedmontese All-Natural Bone-In Strip Steak 11oz, a really generous piece of steak cooked medium (I would’ve preferred medium rare and if you do too, ask for it when ordering) with a simple cremini mushroom sauce, roasted asparagus and fingerling potatoes. The meat is lean yet not dry and possesses a good chew factor. I like how they didn’t fiddle with this dish by adding a bunch of frou-frou items. It’s a meat and potatoes dish and the star of the dish was allowed to shine on its own.

And if you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, and didn’t know about Seasons 52’s Mini Indulgences, then you’ve been missing out. Even this non-dessert fan loves one or two of these to finish off the meal. Two new indulgences include the cannoli and the blueberry cheesecake. Both are seriously good, rich, sinful, but each only 320 calories and under. Indulge all you want.

The seasonal menus are available for about 3 months so make sure you get down there before it is gone.

Seasons 52
3333 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Tel: 714-437-5252

Seasons 52 on Urbanspoon

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