Season’s 52 – Phoenix
Before, we left for our Christmas vacation in the deserts of Arizona, my husband and I were most concerned about find a place to eat on Christmas Eve night. If we had stayed in Los Angeles for Christmas, Christmas Eve dinner would have been easy – there are a number of places in the area the stay open or we could have cooked at home. However, when you’re on the road, you never know what it’s going to be like on a major holiday like Christmas. In fact, on Christmas Eve morning at the hotel we were staying at, the front desk clerk had even asked my husband and I if we were set with plans for that evening as a lot of restaurants would be closed. Luckily, trying to find a place to dine for Christmas Eve dinner was one of the first things my husband and I decided on when making plans for our weekend getaway.
Earlier this year, a beloved restaurant at the mall down the street from where we live closed. In its place was to be a restaurant that neither my husband nor I had ever heard of before. The banners that were displayed out front of the location during its construction seemed to promise good food in a terrific, fun atmosphere. The restaurant had an interesting name that was quite intriguing. For months, construction continued on at this location and what was being built seemed spectacular. Fast forward a few months and as my husband and I are researching restaurants we could dine at on Christmas Eve, my husband discovered that this restaurant that was under construction here in Los Angeles, there was a branch of the restaurant located in downtown Phoenix, and to our delight, it was actually open on Christmas Eve! The restaurant is called Seasons 52.
Seasons 52 features a seasonally inspired menu that changes 4 times a year (once for each season), along with a chef’s special menu featuring locally grown, fresh, seasonal ingredients that changes weekly, hence the 52 in the name for the 52 weeks of the year. In addition to fresh, seasonal food, the restaurant doesn’t use butter in its cooking (except for dessert), and therefore, every item on the restaurant’s menu is 475 calories or less. It is really an interesting concept.
When we arrived at the restaurant, we discovered that it was quite busy for Christmas Eve night. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones looking for a place to dine on Christmas Eve. The interior of the restaurant was comfy and cozy and casually elegant, featuring dark woods and candlelight. The restaurant also had a nice bar and a large wine cellar to go along with their award-winning international wine list. At the bar area, there was live music in the form of a gentleman playing the piano.
Based on our waiter’s recommendation, we started off our meal with one of the restaurant’s signature flatbreads. The menu featured a number of different selections as to what came on the flatbread, but our waiter had mentioned that his favorite was the spicy chipotle shrimp, so that’s what we ordered. I was a bit nervous about the spicy aspect of it, as I guess I should have been, because I am not a fan of spicy. The spicy chipotle shrimp flatbread also had grilled pineapple, feta cheese and roasted poblano peppers. What came to the table was a long rectangular flatbread loaded with toppings. They didn’t skimp on the shrimp or any of the other toppings. Cut into triangle wedges, we each ended up with 4 or 5 wedges each of this full of flavor and robust flatbread. The flatbread itself was perfectly cooked, super thin and crispy. The toppings were full of bold flavor. The shrimp, true to its name was spicy, paired with the roast poblano peppers and it packed quite a lunch. However, the sweetness of the grilled pineapple and the cool tang of the feta cheese helped to cut through the spice of the dish.
We also decided to order a shareable appetizer of lobster and crab meat spring rolls. This was on the Chef’s special menu and just sounded too good to pass up. And hey, it’s healthy, too! The spring roll was made with fresh lobster and crab meat flown in from the east coast and combined with vermicelli noodles, shredded carrots, cilantro and mint and served alongside 3 different dipping sauces – a sweet Thai chili sauce, a horseradish aioli and a chile verde sauce. The spring rolls were cool, crisp, light and refreshing. And the sauces helped to enhance the flavors of the spring roll. Great, light appetizer.
For my entrée, I chose the cedar plank salmon served alongside roasted asparagus, carrots and fingerling potatoes. The salmon was terrific. Super moist, yet flaky on the inside and crisp and perfectly grilled on the outside. Serving it on the cedar plank was perfect. The seasonal vegetables were a nice addition to the meal as well. And like advertised, the meal felt light and healthy rather than heavy and weighed down. Perhaps not the most spectacular meal ever, and the portion felt a little on the light side, but the vegetables were flavorful and the salmon perfectly cooked.
My husband also opted for a seafood dish, he chose a sesame seared ahi tuna steak served over soba noodles and mixed seasonal fresh vegetables and a tomato salsa. The dish looked like a work of art as it appeared at the table. The tuna steak was perfectly seared on the outside and a beautiful medium rare on the inside. The soba noodles with straw mushrooms and baby bok choy was a terrific, light compliment to the ahi tuna. The noodles were gently cooked and seasoned and served with a refreshing broth. But the tuna steak was certainly the star of this dish. My husband was very happy with his entrée selection and certainly devoured the entire tuna steak.
Now, time for the dessert. At our table, we were presented, by our waiter, with a selection of the mini indulgences being served at the restaurant that night. Eight different flavors of mini indulgences are served nightly and presented tableside, along with a detailed description of each, for your pleasure. Mini indulgences are exactly as they sound; mini, decadent desserts served in a shot-glass sized container, filled with wonderful ingredients that can be finished in a handful of bites. The mini indulgences afford the guest a smaller portion size, or also allows them to choose from more than one indulgence so that you have the option of trying a wide variety. Some flavors of mini indulgences remain the same through the year, and others change with the season.
As it was Christmas Eve, we decided to splurge a little and choose a couple of different flavors to try out. There was the raspberry chocolate chip mini cannoli. How can you pass that up? Chocolate chip cannoli filling with dollops of raspberry puree and a mini cannoli shell on top. I’m not a raspberry fan, but this was terrific and tasted every bit as good as it looked. Then there’s the Southern Pecan Pie, which my husband enjoyed. Decadent, flavorful and authentic Southern Pecan pie loaded with pecans and a graham cracker crust. Or, what about the chocolate peanut butter brownie pie. A chocolate mousse and peanut butter mousse concoction surrounding a mini, and light chocolate brownie with a whipped cream topping. Yum! There was also the season egg nog mini indulgence with an egg nog mousse and a graham cracker crust.
That wasn’t the end of it. We also got the mocha macchiato which had a huge kick of coffee flavor. It tasted like a macchiato in creamy mousse form with milk and white chocolate shavings over the top of it with chocolate cake on the bottom. And there was my husband’s favorite, key lime pie mini indulgence. The tangy, tart and sweet key lime pie filling with graham cracker crust and whipped cream. We absolutely loved these mini indulgences.
What a great Christmas Eve night. A new restaurant in a beautiful city full of fun and culture. The best part about falling in love with the food at Season’s 52? There’s one that just opened just down the street from us back at home! So we can indulge in Season’s 52 any time we want. That could be a dangerous thing!