We were invited to preview a new restaurant in Tyson's at a soft opening. Seasons 52 is an Orlando based chain dedicated to fresh, healthy, seasonal food. Their menu changes four times a year, and all of their dishes are under 475 calories. In addition to the regular menu lactose free, low sodium, gluten free, garlic free, vegetarian, and vegan menus are available. It is also a wine bar, run by a Master Sommelier George Miliotes (one of only 152 in the world). The bar section of the restaurant is huge, taking up half of the space, and featured live music the night that we were there. The decor is dark and modern, like an upscale steakhouse. The noise from the mall makes it a bit loud, but it still manages to be a cozy spot for a date. The servers were enthusiastic about the concept and knowledgeable about the dishes - they are tested on all menu items. The hostess replaced my white napkin with a black one when she saw that I was wearing dark clothes - that is one of the gestures that I really appreciate from a restaurant.
The cocktails are made with agave nectar (which is sweeter than sugar, with a lower glycemic index, and vegan friendly). I tried the strawberry basil martini, which was jammy and fresh - not watered down - and infused with basil. The server filled my martini glass, then left the extra in the shaker at the table with me.
One of the conditions of the free preview was that we each order a different appetizer, entree, and dessert - fine by me! The flatbreads are one of their specialties, so I ordered one from the daily specials. It was thin and crispy and the toppings of spinach, goat cheese, artichoke, balsamic onions, and red pepper were nicely balanced. Jasper ordered the chile rellano, which smelled fantastic but was too spicy for me to eat. Our guest had the sesame chicken skewers which were tangy and moist. For my entree, I ordered the BBQ chicken - which was juicy and flavorful, and served with green beans, mashed potatoes, and a delicious corn salad. Jasper said he was jealous of my dish, even though he ordered one of the specials - a t-bone lamb chop with demi glace, truffled mashed potatoes, and asparagus. The lamb was tender, and the potatoes had a good amount of truffle flavor. Our guest ordered the filet, served with mashed potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, and asparagus.
The desserts are called "mini indulgences" and are served in shotglasses (in keeping with the low calorie mission). The website claims that Seasons 52 originated this trend. I have tried this kind of mini dessert at other restaurants and not been impressed - in some cases I thought they were actually pretty gross. I was surprised by how good the ones at Seasons 52 were. We tried the blueberry cheesecake, chocolate peanut butter, and the cookies and cream. The after dinner coffee was of good quality, and the espresso had a nice crema on top.
All in all, I like the concept and the food was pretty good - not as good as Morton's, but better than Chile's or Olive Garden (for reference). The location would be really convenient for a dinner and movie date, and I would like to explore the wine bar more.