• 03Apr

    Main Dining Room. Pic by Seasons 52.

    Twenty or so writers were present at the media preview of Seasons 52. It was nice seeing familiar faces including Anita of Greg’s List, Lauren DeSantis of Capital Cooking, and Johnna of Johnna Knows Good Food.

    From Season 52’s Website:  “We use natural cooking techniques such as wood-fire grilling, brick-oven cooking and caramelizing vegetables to let the natural flavors shine through. And we execute precision with seasoning, and oil with control and care to ensure just the right amount is used to bring out the great flavor profiles. An added benefit to this style is that our menu items are naturally lower in calories. In fact, we make a promise that nothing on our menu is over 475 calories.”

    Seasons 52 had their Master Sommelier (and Director of Beverage & Hospitality) George Miliotes available to answer questions.  George is gracious and very knowledgeable. The questions tended to be along the lines of:

    “What is a Master Sommelier?
    “Can organic wine grapes be planted next to non-organic grapes and still be organic?
    “Which vineyards must I see on my trip to Sonoma County?”

    According to The Court of Master Sommeliers, there are only 180 Master Sommeliers in the world; George is number 152.  That number (180) is as of right now, so it may change if you check the link in the future.

    The restaurant opens on April 11 across the street from the White Flint Mall (which means it is metro accessible). It is a large and gorgeously decorated space.

    Pic by Seasons 52.

    Season’s 52 has graciously provided pictures of the restaurant and a selection of their recipes, so I’ll include a couple of their pictures and a recipe for one of the dishes we tried at the preview.  I might share another recipe or two of theirs in the near future.

    The artichoke, goat cheese, spinach, balsamic onion and roasted pepper flatbread was very good.  It was the first thing I tried (other than some champagne) and I was surprised at how good it was.  It was a wonderful combination of flavors on a well-made crispy flatbread.

    We also tried Chipotle shrimp with roasted poblanos, grilled pineapple, and feta cheese.  I know I enjoyed it, but I don’t remember it as well as the other courses.  This was served with Gimonet Cuvee Gastronome champagne.

    Pic by me. Cedar plank roasted salmon and scallop.

    I remember the Chesapeake blue crab and hass avocado very well!  It was good quality crab, flavorful, and served with pico de gallo.  It was served with Aveledo Vinho Verde (Portugal, 2009), which I enjoyed.  We were told that when Seasons 52 came to this area, they were told they have to feature blue crab.  Crab cakes don’t fit into their menu concept (as far as calories), so they came up with the crab and avocado dish (and a crab flatbread).

    The cedar plank roasted organic salmon and lemongrass sea scallop (with asparagus, carrot, and golden beet) was one of my favorite dishes.  The scallop was good but I adored the salmon, so am including the restaurant’s cedar plank roasted salmon recipe below.  I liked the golden beet (and the asparagus was fine) but the carrot (flavor and texture) didn’t do anything for me.  The dish was served with Mer Soleil Chardonnay (Central Coast 2008). While I do not enjoy “oaked” chardonnay, I disliked this one less than others I have tried, since I could taste a strong caramel note. We were given a tip for plank grilling: soak and oil the plank so that the plank doesn’t burn or leach the moisture from the fish.

    Flatbread. Pic by me.

    I’m going to pass on describing the salad course, since I was served an altered version due to a mushroom allergy.  The Sinskey Pinot Noir (Carneros 2007) was good though.

    The Sonoma goat cheese ravioli with roasted garlic, basil and light tomato broth was a good dish.  The ravioli had a very thin dough and the filling was rich and flavorful.  It was served with tiny pear-shaped orange and red tomatoes for a very fresh feel, and paired with Retromarcia Chianti Classico 2008.

    The mesquite-grilled lamb t-bone chop and Manchester Farms quail breast with mashed sweet potatoes and bourbon-chili glaze was really a combination of two entrees served as one large appetizer.  It was paired with the Markham Petite Sirah (Napa 2004) and De Toren Fusion V (Stellenbosch 2007); we were told to see which of the wines we liked better with the two proteins.  I liked both wines with the lamb but preferred the full-bodied fruity flavor of the Markham (while Anita preferred the Fusion V).  I am not a wine specialist but I felt that both wines competed too heavily with the flavor of the quail; it probably isn’t easy to pair two red wines with two very different proteins.  The mashed sweet potatoes were very good and went well with both proteins.

    We were also allowed to sample as many of the 9 dessert shots as we wanted.  My table neighbor (Anita) and I shared in order to try more of them, and the ones we tried included the key lime pie, carrot cake, Meyer lemon pound cake, chocolate peanut butter mousse, and pecan pie with vanilla mousse.  Good stuff, with my favorites being the key lime pie and chocolate peanut butter mousse.

    The restaurant has been nice enough to share this recipe with us:

    Cedar Plank Roasted Salmon

    Notes:

    • Select premium salmon filets—preferably wild or organic
    • Cedar planks – available at gourmet grocery stores
    • Soak cedar planks overnight in water.

    Ingredients for Marinade:

    4 each fresh salmon filets (6-8 oz. each, boneless, skinless)

    2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

    1 teaspoon malt vinegar

    1 teaspoon soy sauce

    1 lemon, zest and juice

    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (plus some for planks)

    Combine ingredients above and lemon zest in a small glass dish.  Coat salmon filets with marinade and allow to marinate for one hour.  Add sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

    Procedure:

    • Pre-heat oven to 475°.
    • Remove cedar planks from soaking water.
    • Rub cedar planks with extra virgin olive oil.
    • Place salmon filets on cedar planks and season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
    • Roast salmon 8-10 minutes (depending on size of filets).
    • Serve with lemon and your favorite side dishes.

    -JAY

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