Spring has sprung, both in the weather and food industry here in Indianapolis. I had the pleasure of attending a media dinner to preview the Spring menu for Seasons 52 (which is now available!) which included a webcast with the Director of Culinary, Chef Clifford Pleau, and Master Sommelier, George Miliotes. After the filling Fall menu preview, I anticipated a night of delights in both food and wine. That, and extraordinary service, were exactly what I received.
I arrived to a glass of Zardetto Prosecco with strawberry kir royal – a drink to get anyone in the Spring mood. It was not as sweet as I was anticipating, bringing out the natural strawberry sweetness of the strawberry infused bubbly. To compliment the drink, a few appetizers were being passed around. These included a tomato flatbread, artichoke & goat cheese flatbread, and artichoke-stuffed artichoke leaves. I had a bite of each, my favorite being the tomato flatbread. Roasted garlic brings a deep, earthy flavor to the tomatoes, a freshness of basil elevates it with the salty Parmesan cheese melted on top. And I was impressed to see that the flatbread was crisp, not soggy from the toppings. I can’t say the same for the artichoke and goat cheese, though I still liked the flavors. Anything with creamy goat cheese will win me over, but I really enjoyed the flavor of the balsamic onion that was part of the flatbread. The other appetizer, artichoke-stuffed artichoke leaves, though beautiful in presentation didn’t do much for me. It was difficult to eat while standing and the texture was mushy. A combination of Parmesan, peppery arugula and rich, reduced balsamic glaze worked well in flavor, just not texture. Unfortunately, I didn’t take photos of any of these due to the atmosphere. There are some other appetizers I would really be interested in on the menu, including a chicken chile relleno and goat cheese ravioli.
We sat down and began the webcast. It was really great to see both Pleau and Miliotes showcase the ingredients and explain the pairings for the meal in a casual yet professional presentation. You could see their passion in the concepts, which carried over into the food that we ate that evening prepped by Executive Chef Partner Bill Erath and the local Seasons 52 team.A friendly banter between the two was a breath of fresh air, not stuffy by any means, and I appreciated them taking the time to answer questions via twitter from Seasons 52 across the country.
We began with a perfect Spring salad, tomato and Haas avocado salad. Creamy avocado was cut into large chunks with a tomato that tasted like it just came out of a garden. A spicy arugula seemed to season the two vegetables perfectly while a beautifully reduced balsamic glaze brought the dish together. There was a sherry vinegar toss that made the dish even more creamy by breaking down the avocado just slightly, creating a perfect dressing for the salad. All of this was perfect when paired with the grilled bread – a perfect crisp char gave it a crunch that was welcomed with the otherwise creamy dish. A glass of Aveleda Vinho Verde added a crisp, clean taste to freshen and cleanse the palate with each sip.
The parade of entrees began soon after. All smaller portions were served to us, but the chef did prepare what a regular portion would look like for us to see. Here is a recap of the three entrees we had:
- Columbia River Steelhead Trout served with Botani Moscatel – this was hands down my favorite dish of the evening. Trout , cooked with skin on to ensure all the flavor stayed with the fish, flaked perfectly with a fork. An Asian flavor combination of lemongrass infused vegetable broth made the dish light and refreshing. A clean and beautiful presentation, a bed of basmati rice was also cooked with the lemongrass broth. Perfectly crisp edamame and snow peas mixed into the rice keeping with the Asian inspiration. And finally, I really enjoyed the light, citrus flavor from the grilled lemon, which produced much more juice than I could anticipate. I hesitate to say I would have liked a few more cremini mushrooms, but really, this dish was fantastic. I’d order it again in a heartbeat. And the sweeter in smell than in taste wine paired great with the dish.
- Lamb T-bone Cops served with Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Corvina Veronese – this is a dish where you would say “is this really under 475 calories?!” due to the richness, steakhouse feel of the dish. It is something many Midwestern taste buds would throw down for (yes dad, you would love this!) The lamb was cooked perfectly to a pink, medium rare with the char 52 spice blend adding the perfect spice and crunchy crust to the meat. And if it wasn’t decadent enough, the mashed potatoes elevated with a dash of truffle oil brought even more luxury to the dish. A deep, red wine reduction took it up one more notch and played nicely with the crisp yet tender asparagus. I like to think this is what Seasons 52 is all about – showcasing healthy and flavorful food that proves you don’t need to add a lot of fat to get one amazing dish. A bold, peppery glass of red wine left a slight dryness on the tongue, standing up to the lamb on it’s own feet was served rightfully so with the dish.
- Spicy Snow Peas & Shitake Mushrooms served with Lioco Indica Rose – An Asian BBQ was the star of this dish. Tangy and robust with toasted sesame seeds, a spicy chili sauce complimented the crisp snow peas and ‘meaty’ in texture shitakes. I really liked the crunch of the roasted almonds. The rose was better than anticipated as it was refreshing and only semi-fruity in flavor. Worked perfectly to balance the spicier than anticipated side dish of veggies.
Of course, no dinner is complete at Seasons 52 without a mini indulgence – or in our case, tastes of many mini indulgences. Out of the variety available, I was able to get my hands on a pecan pie with vanilla mouse (SO delicious – crunchy, creamy, sweet, savory, all the flavors of a dessert one may want!), key lime pie (tart in the most perfect way, creamy and refreshing), Mejer lemon (a little too much for me, it was more subtle than I anticipated and almost fake in flavor) and a bite of the Belgian chocolate rocky road (overdose of chocolate – this is any chocolate lovers dream, though it wasn’t my favorite). Also available are the mocha macchiato, chocolate peanut butter mousse, carrot cake, and fresh fruit. We were able to enjoy a sweet dessert wine, Selbach-Oster Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling, with each sweet nibble.
Yes, the food was very good. I do have to say, the service was also pretty fantastic. We had the pleasure of enjoying the company of Chef Erath, Barbara Rafalowski (managing partner), and Rokeena Williams (sales manager). All three stayed to answer questions after the dinner. I was impressed with their professionalism and knowledge of the restaurant and the industry. The three women who were the servers (I apologize for not having all their names) were absolutely wonderful. My fault entirely for not grabbing their business cards as I thought I had so I can’t give them all the credit they deserve. Make a note of that – if you have great service, you should grab the servers card because you can request them for when you return (which I’m sure you will). I have been to Seasons 52 a few times now and each time the service is absolutely perfect, always knowledgeable and never overbearing.
Hoping I can get back to try a few more items of their Spring menu before it goes away. Anyone else been lately and try their new seasonal menu? Would love to hear what you thought!
Note: though the meal was complimentary, opinions are honest and all my own.
Seasons 52 * 8650 Keystone Crossing * Indy, 46240 * 317.677.2589