Saturday, March 26, 2016

Seasons 52 - Columbia, Maryland

Seasons 52 prides itself on using farm-fresh food items that change each season. I was invited to Seasons 52 to sample some dishes from their new core spring menu, which debuted this week. Since I was able to bring a guest, I brought my mom.  I loved that the menu displayed the calories next to each dish. 

Seasons 52 has a unique ambience with dim lighting, wood paneled high ceilings, a piano placed inside a circular bar area, and a colossal water fountain at the entrance.  There are also giant trees with uplighting that created a natural and back-to-nature aesthetic that yet again emphasizes the theme.

Here's the menu of all the foods we sampled (most are new menu items for the spring but some are always on the menu)
Fresh fruit and vegetable display highlighting the seasonal menu choices (in the Napa room)

 The Napa room, one of the two private rooms (the other being the Sonoma room), can seat approximately 30 people - both rooms have a built in television screen.  There are no room rental fees for these rooms.   
Lobster and fresh mozzarella flatbread (left) and crispy prosciutto asparagus flatbread (right)
We were introduced to the new spring crispy prosciutto asparagus flatbread and the classic standard lobster and fresh mozzarella flatbread.  My favorite was the latter. While I liked camembert cheese, I wasn't crazy about the crispy prosciutto on the asparagus flatbread. However, my mother loved it. For her, the combination of these flavors was the clear winner. 

The chef's spring amuse bouche was presented to us in a garnish-filled spoon.   The taste was earthy and fresh for this cold vegetable soup (think leafy greens like asparagus and spinach) with chantly cream. We prefer hot soup, so it's not our kind of soup. That being said, if you like cold soup, you will really enjoy it.
Spinach salad 

The spinach salad, consisting of spring strawberries, pea tendrils, toasted pine nuts, gorgonzola cheese, and 15-year aged balsamic drizzles - was a home run for both my mom and me.  This is a massive salad with the freshest of ingredients. The incredibly sweet balsamic drizzle really made the entree stand out.  The balsamic sauce enhanced the saccharine strawberries and gorgonzola cheese in a perfectly complementary way.

Caramelized grilled sea scallops with lemon risotto
Meyer lemon ricotta ravioli 
For our third course, we were served the caramelized grilled sea scallops with lemon risotto. The scallops were nicely seared and fork tender. The pairing with the slightly sweet lemon risotto with fresh spring vegetables was phenomenal. This dish personified the flavors of spring.

We tried the Meyer lemon ricotta ravioli with brown butter, roasted peppers, and English peas as our fourth dish. I learned that this particular lemon is a cross between a mandarin orange and a lemon.  I didn't necessarily like the greens on top, as they brought out a sharp taste.   My mother would have preferred a little less dough on the ravioli (then again, we are Italian ravioli connosseiurs - check out our homemade ravioli blog post ).

Asian-glazed Chilean sea bass
The Asian-glazed Chilean sea bass was my favorite meal. Organic black rice, snow peas, and shiitake mushrooms (my favorite mushrooms) are displayed beneath the sea bass in the picture. What makes this dish is the glaze, which tastes like teriyaki and plum sauce. The glaze adds a new depth of flavor to such a unique entree. Not to mention that the dish was just so aesthetically pleasing even before I tasted its untapped glory.

Wood-grilled rack of lambs complete with spring vegetables, yukon gold mash, and shallot jus
What I love about this dish is that the lamb had a secret rub and was cooked in a wood oven. I had a great lamb dish in Greece a few years ago. This dish reminded me of it. The char and seasoning was heaven. Coupled with the tender, spring vegetables and shallot jus... a winner for sure. 

For dessert we had the opportunity to sample six of their "mini indulgences". The presentation of each of the small deserts was eye candy and I couldn't wait to dig into it!

The amaretto soaked vanilla cake "mini indulgence" was my mother's favorite dessert. It even came with a small pipette of amaretto. We both thought it was so clever and innovative.
The cannoli creme, chocolate, and raspberry sauce "mini indulgence" was my favorites dessert. It was filled to the brim with thick cannoli creme and evened out with the raspberry sauce. I especially liked how there was a mini cannoli on top.  I dunked it into the glass to fill it with creme.
Seasons 52 has a beautiful outside that is great for the spring

My mother loved that she was offered a different type of wine to accompany every dish. Seasons 52 has over 100 bottles of wine to choose from. So, if there are any wine connoisseurs out there, they got you covered. 

For Easter,  Seasons 52 will debut a special Easter brunch. Stay tuned, they may even continue the weekend brunch after the holiday.

Our experience at Seasons 52 - the farm fresh food, attentive staff, the unique atmosphere - was really terrific. I was so impressed that I plan to go back for my birthday in May. 

-Thomas Regnante

Seasons 52 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato