Seasons 52 is known as a romantic restaurant and a people-watching sidewalk café on Miracle Mile. Stroll in and hear live, soft music while enjoying appetizers and fun wines after a hard day's cubicle imprisonment. Chill out. The name of the place isn't a coincidence. Menu items change 52 weeks a year depending upon what's available.
The autumn menu was co-created by chef Rolando Centonzio, originally from Puerto Rico. At age 30, he is now a partner at the restaurant.
"I always try to keep everything simple," Centonzio says. "Many chefs today add all sorts of glazes and condiments to their food. Here, I try to just make fresh food with simplicity. Food should taste good without all of the numerous ingredients that just cover the fresh taste of the original produce, meats, or fish. We're working with the seasons, so until the end of this year I'm including plenty of cranberries, cider, and pumpkins in my fall menu."
For starters, try the double hummus with portobello mushrooms on flatbread, or the edamame hummus (which was amazing). According to the chef, spreading the hummus on crisp flatbread instead of rich Italian bread really lowers the calorie count. All flatbread appetizers are $9.95 or less.
Because this upscale chain has restaurants in dozens of states all over the country, it also has agreements with local farmers who provide seasonal favorites.
"We work with places such as Maple Leaf Farms in Indiana, and they provide us with our ducks. Springer Mountain Farms in Blue Ridge, Georgia, sends us their chickens, pumpkins, and fresh vegetables. We're also purchasing many wines from Argentina, because they have a longer summer and they produce wines for more months than other countries."
The new autumn dishes include cider-glazed chicken skewers, sesame duck salad, Piedmontese steaks, and grilled quail. New also are "Drink Them Before They're Famous" wines, produced in Argentina and Sonoma, California. Finish off a meal with a choice of mini indulgences that are presented on a tray in small glasses. This month's desserts include a pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream. All desserts are $2.50 each.
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According to senior culinary director Clifford Pleau and master sommelier George Miliotes, if you follow their expert advice, no meal should total more than 475 calories, so choose wisely.