Sunday, February 27

Food Review: Seasons 52

Seasons 52
When you write a column and blog, you are offered numerous opportunities not given to just anyone. Case in point: I received an invitation to a private dinner to taste-test the offerings at about-to-open-in-Indy, Seasons 52 restaurant. Situated in front of the Fashion Mall at Keystone, the Darden restaurant, a Florida-based chain, takes mid-level dining to a new high.

Setting the standard up several notches, 52 proudly admits to having No. 152 from the short list of the world's Master Sommeliers choosing the wine cellar's selections. Award-winning George Miliotes, a charming encyclopedia of wine, matched perfectly five courses of culinary deliciousness. A difficult task, pairing wines to food for two dozen critics at one setting; but he pulled it off admirably. Not a surprise, considering the level of difficulty in acquiring the Master Sommelier status. Among other honors, Miliotes was named Wine Spectator’s 2009 Award of Excellence.
George Miliotes

The venue, an understated elegant approach, soothed the ears, as well as the eyes, with a seven-days-a-week pianist, live in the bar area. Listening to tinkling ivories truly enhances the overall dining experience, and this extra nugget adds to an already pleasurable ambiance.

Senior Culinary Director Cliff Pleau and Executive Chef Bill Erath presented the cuisine from the seasonally changing menu consisting of the freshest ingredients 52 weeks out of the year; hence the name-Seasons 52. Presented with such attention to detail it's difficult  to remember you're sitting in the 16th eatery of the same name. The chef's choices were made more significant by the stories relayed to us, explaining the inspiration behind each course. The meal was an expression of love from the kitchen to the diners, without regard to anything except the reaction of the recipient.

What we ate
Appetizers-Flatbreads: Artichoke and goat cheese with leaf spinach, balsamic onions and roasted peppers; chipotle shrimp with roasted poblanos, grilled pineapple and feta cheese. Wine: Chartogne-Toillet Cuvee Sainte Anne, Champagne MV

Amuse-Bouche: Lump crab and haas avocado. Wine: Aveleda Vinho Verde, Portugal 2009

Second course: Organic Salmon and lemongrass sea scallop roasted on a cedarplank. Wine: Mer Soleiel Chardonnay, Central Coast 2008

Third Course: Earthbound Farm organic green with oak-grilled mushrooms, toasted pistachios and truffle dressing. Wine: Sinskey Pinot Noir, Carneros 2007

Mini Indulgences

Fourth Course: Sonoma goat cheese ravioli with roasted garlic, basil and light tomato broth. Wine: Sierra Cantabria, Rioja 2006

Fifth Course: Mesquite-grilled lamb T-bone chop and Manchester Farms quail breast, mashed sweet potatoes and bourbon-chili glaze. Wine: Markham Petite Sirah, Napa 2004; De Toren Fusion V, Stellenbosch 2007

Desserts: Mini Indulgences of carrot cake, fresh fruit, rocky road, pecan pie, Key lime pie, chocolate peanut butter mousse. Note* desserts also change with the season.

Bottom line: Presenting an entire dining experience, complete with seasonally fresh ingredients, "Wine, dine and relax" seems to be the motto for Indy's newest food choice.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, music, restaurant and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook.
Photo Credit: EJMusgrave

Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

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