When Seasons 52 invited us to celebrate the release of their new Jolie Saison Gamay wine and the start of the fall menu, we jumped at the chance. We've dined at other restaurants located at Oakbrook Center, but this would be our first visit to this chain's offerings.
"Seasons 52 is a fresh grill and wine bar that invites guests to discover the sensational flavors of a seasonally-inspired menu and award-winning international wine list in a casually-sophisticated ambiance."
Even though this is a restaurant in a mall, once one is inside, the outside world disappears. A tad dark for my taste, it is still a nicely designed room, with an open kitchen with roaring fire creating an upscale, yet comfortable ambience. Wine is obviously very important to the restaurant. The menu has about 100 selections, with 60 offered by the glass, all chosen by George Miliotes, Master Sommelier for Seasons 52 and the 152nd Master Sommelier in the world.
To cover the entire meal, I decided to order a red and white, then taste them across the menu. I made it all the way to dessert before finishing them up and both performed flawlessly, definitely great choices, at least for my taste. I opted for two wines from the "Drink Them Before They're Famous Menu," the restaurant's own Jolie Saison Gamay, France '11 for the red, and the AZ Stronghold Tazi, White Blend '10/'11, for the white. Both outstanding. Laima chose to go the tasting route, going with the Flight and Flatbread option (3 wines to taste, with a flatbread and a full pour once you decide which of the three wines you like best). At $15 or $20, this is an amazing deal and one we'll return for in the future. Though she could have chosen from one of her three wines, we decided to test our server's expertise, asking for a suggestion to go with Laima's main course, a filet mignon. Without hesitation, she suggested the Lake Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander ‘10, which was a great wine on its own and the perfect accompaniment to the steak.
We started with the Blackened Steak and Blue Cheese Flatbread (with cremini mushrooms, spinach, and caramelized onions), also choosing the Cider-Glazed Grilled Chicken Skewers (with Fuji apple slaw, sun-dried cranberries, and toasted pumpkin seeds) and Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli (with harvest vegetables, black mushrooms, and roasted onion jus). All of these starters were very good, with the ravioli the biggest surprise -- the goat cheese added a bite not expected in a pasta.
It was hard to decide on a main course, but we finally chose the Grilled Kona-Crusted Lamb T-Bone Chops (with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus, and 15-year aged balsamic vinegar) for me and the Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon (with cremini mushrooms, steamed leaf spinach, mashed potatoes, and a red wine sauce) for Laima. While the entire meal showcased beautiful platings, I thought the Filet seemed a bit off in that respect -- perhaps it was the whole mushrooms circling the plate, but it appeared rustic when compared to the other dishes. A minor complaint as the meat was so good.
For dessert, a holder containing many small options is brought to the table. Unlike some restaurants, where a plasticized version is shown and then another brought to the table, at Seasons 52 the desserts are fresh and placed on the table immediately. Even though we wanted to try them all, we were getting pretty full, so a trio seemed a safe effort. We opted for the Key Lime Pie, Mocha Macchiato, and the Pumpkin Pie with Ginger Snap Crust Mini Indulgences, which are individual servings of classic desserts. We added Cappuccino and it was a great ending to a fabulous meal.
Seasons 52 is one of the few finer dining restaurants we've seen that posts the Nutrition information online. Kudos to them for that. The other amazing thing is that their entire menu is under 475 Calories! So an appetizer, main course, 2 glasses of wine, and a dessert would total about 1,500 calories, probably the main course at most other restaurants. It's truly hard to believe when the food is so tasty and seemingly decadent. Brilliant job by the Chef.
Seasons 52 has locations around the country -- if you have one near you, we heartily recommend trying them out. With tasty food, endless wine options, and a comfortable vibe, this is a place you'll want to return to again and again. I know we do.
Disclaimer: This meal was provided to us for review purposes.
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