A Squared: Recent Chicago Restaurant Visits: Seasons 52

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Recent Chicago Restaurant Visits: Seasons 52

Seasons 52 is a grill and wine bar offering a seasonal menu inspired by local and seasonal ingredients. The chefs at Seasons 52 pride themselves on using ingredients at their peak and simple yet rustic cooking techniques like brick-oven roasting and open-fire grilling over oak and mesquite to bring out the natural flavors of food. The menu has a distinct focus on dishes that are fresher, more flavorful, and lighter than the average restaurant meal. I was recently invited into their Chicago location in the heart of River North to sample some of the new seasonal menu items here and I jumped at the opportunity-- and brought my friend Kerri (who happens to be Seasons 52's #1 fan) along-- for what was a night of great food, drinks, and service.

c/o Seasons 52
Our evening began with cocktails, several of Seasons 52's signature flatbreads (like the delicious seasonal chili-glazed duck or lobster & mozzarella options), and a short presentation by executive chef Brad Froelich. He walked us through some of his favorite items on the menu (several of which we tried and I'll tell you about below). It was also interesting to know that Seasons 52 serves more than 100 wines, with 52 available by the glass. They also serve some amazing signature handcrafted cocktails. Kerri and I both began our evening with the refreshing Meyer Lemonade cocktail made with orange Grey Goose vodka, Meyer lemon juice, pineapple juice, and a bit of agave for sweetness. It was a perfect summer cocktail-- and one of those perfectly mixed drinks that doesn't taste too strong of alcohol so it went down all to quickly!

c/o Seasons 52

Once we were seated and perusing the menu, chef Froelich came around to each table to deliver a bowl of the most gorgeous summery risotto. Risotto and sweet corn is slow cooked until creamy with a touch of truffle oil. It was topped off with shaved truffles, fresh Parmesan, and an herby chive oil. This risotto was lighter than the average, but filling enough to be a satisfying meatless entree.

c/o Seasons 52

We decided to order several more small plates to share and sample, beginning with the crab cake. The crab cake was nice and crunchy on the outside and an interior that was filled with lump crab-- not filler-- served with a tangy mustard dipping sauce. I would also mention that Kerri has a pretty serious butter intolerance. So when the crab cake arrived and we were notified that it was seared in butter, the staff was quick to accommodate her and whisked out a butter-free crab cake in a matter of minutes.


One of the highlights of our dinner was the ahi tuna tartare. This generous portion of ahi was layered in a beautiful presentation with some smooth and spicy wasabi avocado mousse and a beautiful tropical salsa filled with pineapple, mango, and peppers. The flavors here were super refreshing with a little sweet and a little heat and this is a perfect light appetizer to start any meal.         


On the salad front, Kerri and I both loved this creative twist on a caprese salad. Thick slices of sweet heirloom tomatoes were layered with warm mozzarella lightly breaded and crusted in herbs. It's lightly drizzled with a flavorful 15-year aged balsamic vinegar. I love that Seasons 52 took one of my favorite flavor combinations and put their own creative twist on it for this delicious and hearty summer salad.


For entrees, Kerri opted for the Asian-glazed Chilean sea bass off of the Chef's Suggestion portion of the menu. The presentation of this fish was beautiful with a thick white filet plated on a bed of black rice with sliced shiitake mushrooms and snap peas. The sea bass was finished off with a little micro wasabi on top. This simple Asian-inspired preparation is exactly the kind of dish that Seasons 52 is known for: generous portions with big flavor that's still low on calories.

c/o Seasons 52
I opted for the caramelized grilled sea scallops for my entree. This dish was plated so beautifully with lots of bright colors from toybox tomatoes and snap peas. There were a ton of scallops on this plate and they were really simply seasoned and perfectly seared.

c/o Seasons 52
I'm just realizing now in looking back at what we ate that night that there was a lot of corn involved. I can't say I'm made about it though because corn is better in the summertime than in any other season. I couldn't help but order a side of this skillet of roasted corn with our entrees. The sweet roasted corn paired beautifully with crispy bacon, sweet caramelized onions, and Parmesan cheese for a side dish that felt decadent and delicious.

c/o Seasons 52

And speaking of decadence, dessert is definitely one of the highlights of dining at Seasons 52. At the end of your meal, your server will bring out an assortment of Mini Indulgence shooters to choose from. Each is a different flavor combination and perfect whether you need just a little something sweet or whether you want to select 2 or 3 (or 4...) for sampling of several different desserts. Kerri's go to order is always the rich Belgian Chocolate S'more with layers of chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, and chocolate chips topped with a toasted marshmallow and a chocolate dipped graham cracker. She also took a mini carrot cake indulgence for the road too!


I loved the Bing Cherry Creme Brulee, one of Seasons 52's special summer desserts (pictured above). Sweet bing cherries were topped with a thick layer of custard finished off with a sugary crispy crust on top. It was so tough to choose between all of their delicious desserts, but this one was perfect for summertime... and the perfect size to end an amazing multi-course meal.

Seasons 52 is a perfect place for girls night, a date, or even a casual drink and snacks at the bar (since they have great happy hour specials via their Sunset at Seasons 52 drink and small plate menu). I love that you can have a big meal with tons of flavor and not feel as if you're in a coma when you're leaving. The chefs here are really adept at adding flavor through fresh ingredients and grilling techniques, which definitely sets them apart from other restaurants.


Editor's Note: While our meal at Seasons 52 was complimentary, all opinions expressed here are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support A Squared!

2 comments:

  1. Wow, this looks absolutely amazing!! I live in Chicago and I'm always looking for new restaurants to try, so I'll be adding this to my list! Thanks for sharing!

    xoxo Emily
    http://www.ditchtheheels.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Emily, it's such a fun spot-- even just for flatbread and wine (and maybe a dessert)! Thanks for stopping by!

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