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Instant Reaction: Seasons 52 at Arden Fair Mall

Seasons 52 opened at Arden Fair mall on Monday, and they graciously invited me to a hosted meal to check out their restaurant and to let their kitchen and wait staff get some practice in before they opened to the public.

When you first walk in, you know they aren't a shoestring mom and pop operation. They've invested heavily into creating an elegant space fitting of a higher end restaurant. With its dark wood interior and a pianist playing in the bar area, it's a setting that you'd expect to find businessmen sipping scotch while traveling for work.

As part of their preview, they served us seven small courses. All the items weren't on the menu, but were supposed to be representative of their cuisine in general.

We started with two flatbreads -- an Artichoke & Goat Cheese flatbread with leaf spinach, balsamic onions and roasted peppers, and a Chipotle Shrimp flatbread with roasted poblanos, grilled pineapple and feta cheese. (Sorry - didn't get a picture of those. They were passed appetizers while we were getting seated.)

The amuse course was Dungess Crab and Haas Avocado.

Then came the entree courses.


Organic salmon and lemongrass sea scallop roasted on a cedar plank


Organic field greens, grilled mushrooms, toasted pistachios with a truffle dressing


Sonoma goat cheese ravioli, roasted garlic, basil, with organic tomato broth


Mesquite-Grilled Piedmontese striploin and Manchester farms all-natural quail, mashed sweet potatoes and red wine sauce


For dessert, we were presented with 9 "shot glasses" of dessert to choose from. I chose the Meyer lemon tart, but the choices ran the gamut from heavy chocolate to light fruit selections.

There was a lot of food served that night. I particularly enjoyed the chipotle shrimp flatbread, scallops, the salad course and the dessert.

I like the concept of the restaurant. Every item on their menu is less than 475 calories and nothing is fried. Too often, I'll go out to eat with my wife and all we can (or should) eat is an entree with a salad or appetizer and a dessert because the portions are way too big. At Seasons 52, they serve you the appropriate amount of food so you can have some flatbread, eat an entree and still have room for dessert.

Most entrees on the menu were priced in the high teens or low 20s. That slots them above chain restaurants like the Olive Garden (who shares a corporate owner with Seasons 52), but below really high end dining like Ella, Mulvaney's B&L or a steakhouse.

If you're out at the mall shopping and looking for good meal while getting a respite from the masses or looking for a place to eat before catching a movie, Seasons 52 is somewhere you should check out. It's nice without being stuffy, their portions are the right size so you don't have leftovers sitting in your car while you're at the movies, and there's nothing else like them in the area.

Seasons 52 is located at Arden Fair Mall, across from BJs.

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