From the moment we entered the door to the moment we left, our experience at Seasons 52 Fresh Grill was nothing short of spectacular.
Located on Orlando’s Restaurant Row, on the south side of Sand Lake between Publix and Barnes and Noble, Seasons 52 is a brilliant concept flawlessly executed. (There is also a second Orlando-area location in Altamonte Springs.) The idea behind this restaurant is to prepare only wholesome, nutritional meals that focus on what’s “in season” each of the 52 weeks of the year around the world–hence, Seasons 52. Each of their meals is focused on flavor and character, not on quantity. With this is mind, every entree on their menu is no more than 475 calories.
But before I lose you, let me clear up a couple of points about this concept. Seasons 52 is not a health nut restaurant; you’re not being asked to choke down horse pellets or strange plant substances that sound made up. I’ll show you some of what is on the menu in just a moment. Nor is Seasons 52 a “fine dining” restaurant as in heavy etiquette and stuffiness. It is certainly a more upscale experience with service to match, but the atmosphere is warm, inviting, and completely unpretentious.
My wife and I visited with my parents. Luckily with four people we got to sample quite a bit of the menu! We entered the restaurant and immediately observed one of Seasons 52 many innovative techniques. After confirming our reservations with the hostess (made easily on OpenTable.com), we were escorted to our table by our server. That’s right, our server, not a host. Because of this, as soon as we sat down we were able to get our menus, ask questions, and immediately order drinks. Now, I’m not sure if they are able to do this all the time, but the simple fact that they do it when they can is pretty incredible.
Once we asked a few questions and placed our drink order, we then had some time to observe the atmosphere of the restaurant. It is designed with a rustic, Floridian feel. The toasted almond tones of the woodwork was very charming and gave the sense of casual comfort with a hint of elegance.
Now it was time to take a look at the menu and decide what to eat!
We decided to start with Rip Plum Flatbread. Before we knew it our starter was served.
This item was really extraordinary. The “flatbread” felt more like a crispy wafer than a bread, but not at all in a bad way. The delicate nature of the wafer-thin bread put the other fresh ingredients in the spotlight–the tomato, basil, and cheese–and they were delicious. We all wished we could have had an order of all five flatbreads on the menu.
We than each ordered an entree: Grilled Mahi-Mahi Mayan, Housemade Sondra Goat Cheese Ravioli, Blackened Mahi-Mahi Fish Tacos, and the Spicy Chicken Chile Relleno. Here’s what came out of the kitchen…
It all looked spectacular (albeit just a tinge messy). And we were certainly impressed with the size of the portions. Remember, each of these entrees is 475 calories or less. Once I got my silly camera out of the way we dug in. The food was exceptional: harmonious flavors and well executed cooking that brought out the best in each dish’s ingredients. While all the entrees were superb, the best was the Goat Cheese Ravioli. It was a masterpiece.
Just when we thought Seasons 52 couldn’t get any better, our plates were cleared and we were introduced to the their signature dessert offerings: the Original Mini Indulgences.
These shot glass desserts are 300 calories or less, and absolutely the perfect size. Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? I usually never order dessert at a restaurant because who wants to deal with a mountain of cream and empty carbs? But here we had all the sinfulness of a dessert miniaturized. And as if Seasons 52 hadn’t already thought of everything, the mini desserts presented at the table are yours for the taking: find one you like and grab it from the tray.
We got the Key Lime Pie, Pecan Pie with Vanilla Mousse, Red Velvet Cupcake, and the Meyer Lemon Pound Cake.
I can’t think of the words to describe these little things. They were just… perfect. If you think you’d want a bigger serving, trust me: you forget about the small stature of the dessert when you are presented with such exquisite taste.
In all the four of us had one flatbread appetizer, one starter salad, four entrees, five Mini Indulgences (yeah, we got one more but the picture didn’t turn out), two glasses of iced tea, and one glass of wine, one hot tea, and one cappuccino. Our bill totaled to $103.90 plus tax.
And this brings me to the final piece of Seasons 52′s concept: value. We just finished what has to be one of Orlando’s most satisfying meals–and certainly one of its healthiest meals–for about $25 per person. I am extremely impressed with that price. Now of course it is on the higher end as far as restaurants go, so you may not come here every day. But for a special occasion or just to enjoy a great meal once a month, that’s not bad at all! If I think about it, our meal for two at Epcot’s La Hacienda de San Angel (which I loved, by the way) was $100.
I definitely cannot say enough about how pleased we all were with Seasons 52 Fresh Grill. I wasn’t too sure what to expect going in, but from the food, to the service, to the atmosphere and overall concept, I am absolutely 100 percent sold on this place. If it isn’t already, please move Seasons 52 to the top of your Orlando restaurant to-do list.
So, so good. When you consider every aspect of Seasons 52, out of five stars it is a ten.
Last but not last, I also want to mention that they had a very cool bar area set off from the main dining room. Unfortunately that experience will have to wait for another review.
Official website: http://www.seasons52.com/