Wednesday evening I was invited to a preview “media dinner” for Seasons 52, which will officially open on Monday in the Rookwood Exchange. This is their first restaurant in Ohio, with nearly 30 other locations spread across 13 states and at least 8 more in the works. Seasons 52 debuted in 2003 and specializes in a fresh dining experience with all dishes under 475 calories. Their menu changes seasonally four times a year and has weekly specials inspired by the fresh appeal of the farmers’ market.
This will be the first business opening it’s doors in the Rookwood Exchange, so the surrounding area is very much a work in progress. However there is ample parking and the option for valet. I arrived just before the 6:30 start time and upon entering the doors was greeted by some of the staff and given a complimentary glass of champagne. From there I was lead on a tour through the restaurant, starting with a small chefs table, then through the kitchen, a few private dining rooms, and finally to the bar area.
We waited in the bar area for all the guests to arrive and were treated to additional champagne and music from a live piano bar, which will continue to be featured nightly. Seasons 52’s Master Sommelier George Miliotes was also available in the bar to tell us more about the restaurant’s history. Once all the guests had arrived we were offered a sampling from their flatbread menu. I tried the artichoke and goat cheese with leaf spinach, balsamic onions, and roasted peppers. This was a wonderful combination of flavors which I really enjoyed.
From there we moved into the main dining room to start our six course meal, each course paired with at least one wine. Each course was introduced by Executive Chef Clifford Pleau. I’m not going to cover all the courses, just my personal highlights.
For the third course we were given a salad of organic field greens, grilled mushrooms, toasted pistachios, and truffle dressing. I was happy to hear that all salad greens are organic and that they try to use local ingredients when possible. This salad was simple but very fresh and smelled wonderful. The mushrooms and pistachios added a nice flavor as well as a little crunch. I did think it was a little under dressed, but perhaps that is one way to keep the calorie count low.
The next course was my personal favorite of the night. It was a Sonoma goat cheese ravioli with roasted garlic, basil, and organic tomato broth. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted goat cheese as good as what was inside these ravioli. Plus the sauce was delicious and the addition of fresh basil really brought it all together. I see that this is normally served as an appetizer, however I wish it were served as an entrée, perhaps with an added protein.
For the next course I had Springer Mountain Farm all-natural grilled chicken served over a sweet potato mash with roasted Brussels sprouts. The chicken was cooked on their hickory burning grill giving it a very nice flavor. Again you could smell these dishes coming out from the kitchen. The sweet potato mash and Brussels sprouts were both nice accompaniment for the meat.
Finally we were given a choice from their mini indulgences desert selections. These mini deserts are meant to be between six and eight bites each and come served in what appears to be a tall shot glass. I went with the highly recommended pecan pie with vanilla mousse. It is a little awkward getting the spoon down into the depths of the glass, but this desert really was outstanding!
I was very impressed the food and service from Seasons 52. However I do realize that this dining experience wasn’t a typical one. With that said all the food I tasted definitely has me convinced to return again in the near future to try even more.