I remember when the first Seasons 52 opened in Orlando several years ago. The thought of a restaurant being able to produce seasonal cuisine with a low calorie count and still be able to satisfy diners seemed too good to be true. This was the innovative idea from Darden Concepts, Inc. owners of chains such as Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Longhorn, The Capital Grille and Bahama Breeze.
When it opened in Orlando, I was completely taken with the quality of the food, the attention paid to offering a seasonal menu and the service was very good. Since then, the service has improved even more, matching the quality of much more upscale restaurants.
On this excursion, I ordered the Goat Cheese Ravioi appetizer (which has since been slightly changed, as the menu has changed for the summer). It was a large raviolo filled with tangy, rich-tasting soft goat cheese and fresh herbs, surrounded by a light tomato garlic jus and fresh vegetables. It was not only beautiful to look at on the plate, but unimaginable that it was under 475 calories. It now comes as a full entree for lunch at $10.95 and is served over fresh greens with cremini mushrooms, and still in the same tomato garlic jus.
The beautiful and creamy Goat Cheese Ravioli
The entree I had is still on the summer menu, as well. Friedale Farms All-Natural Chicken Citron. It is served with golden beets, broccoli and Lundberg organic wild rice. The chicken breast was very moist, not overcooked and the marinade tasted like a blend of pesto and citrus. The beets had a pleasant, fresh flavor, even a little sweet. The rice was fantastic and I kept wondering how it could be so flavorful and well-cooked without all the fat and calories. The beets and the broccoli could have been cooked a bit more for my taste. I’m sure some people like them almost crunchy, but I like my hot foods done a little more than that. Still, a great dish.
Chicken taken to a new level
My son has become quite the authority on kid’s meals lately. I let him order whatever he wants, and he gives me his take on it. He ordered the Turkey Burger from the kid’s menu with mozzarella cheese on it. It arrived with some roasted red potatoes. He took one bite of the burger, tried some of the potatoes and said he liked the potatoes but the burger was a no-go. I tried it and it was very dry. I can’t blame him for not eating it.
Kid’s meal – Turkey Burger
The interior is just a pleasant place to eat. It’s earthy, but upscale at the same time with lots of natural influences, dark wood and glass. The lighting is perfect during the day beaming through the large skylight in the ceiling. As far as menu concepts matching the design of the restaurant, Seasons 52 is right on the mark.
There is also a private dining area that is available for about $100. It looks like a great place for a corporate lunch or small birthday gathering. I was a little surprised it was in front of the restaurant though, near the greeting area in the busiest part of the restaurant.
The private dining area.
That being said, Seasons 52 will always be one of my favorite restaurants for well-executed, seasonal food that doesn’t add to the waistline. Most of the menu items are moderately priced. Seasons 52 is located at 204 N. Westshore Blvd. in Tampa. 813-286-1152