Known for its simplistic approach to food done well, S52 is a Darden restaurant that opened in Indy last year. (Read review here) This go-round, the menu is inspired by items available in early spring, such as artichokes, asparagus and snow peas. Utilizing fresh ingredients (local as available) keeps the menu changing seasonally.
The service staff is well-educated in the extensive wine list, with many achieving sommelier status. When you have eaten at a restaurant and been unfortunate to have a server who knows even less than you about wine, it's more than a little annoying and definitely affects the restaurant's bottom line. It is truly one more thing (another is the pianist in the bar area) that sets S52 above other chains. It might just be time to re-evaluate your opinion on chains...
The spring menu was created by Chef Clifford Pleau. His career's history, including personal chef to opera legend Luciano Pavarotti, is heavy with awards earned, such as "Menu Masters Chef Innovator of the Year” – Nations Restaurant News (2007).
In-house executive chef and partner is Chef Bill Erath who was lured away from Weber Grill in downtown Indy. His wealth of knowledge and willingness to share with a sense of humor made the evening even more enjoyable.
My favoritesCocktail: Zardetto Prosecco (Treviso NV) and strawberry Kir Royal cocktail-This is a great way to enjoy the now-trending Champagne cocktails. The strawberry garnish enhanced the blended flavors which were refreshing, crisp and light.
Wine: With a different wine for each food item, it would be difficult to zero in on one wine as better than the rest as each paired perfectly with its course. I generally go with what resonates with me several days or weeks later. Standing out most, however, after this amount of time are the Botani Moscatel (Sierras de Malaga '10) with the trout and the Selbach-Oster Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling (Auslese, Mosel '06/'10) with desserts. Wine director: Master Sommelier Georges Miliotes (#152).
Side dish: Spicy snow peas and Shitake mushrooms-The roasted almonds gave the neutrality needed for the spicy
Entree: Out of all items tasted, I would say that if you care for lamb (as I do) then the tender T-bone lamb chops are an absolute must.
Desserts: I will repeat myself by saying that the idea of miniature desserts is marvelous and was long overdue. Bigger isn't always better and who doesn't love choices? Seasons 52's mini indulgences are the perfect ending to a meal, or instead of a meal...
Our menuAmuse Bouche
Ripe plum tomato flatbread with fresh basil
Artichoke & goat cheese flatbread with balsamic onion and roasted peppers
Artichoke-Stuffed Artichoke Leaves – with organic arugula, Parmesan cheese and balsamic glaze
Tomato & Haas Avocado Salad with organic arugula, balsamic glaze and grilled bruschetta
Columbia River Steelhead Trout with spring vegetables, basmati rice and lemongrass sauce
Spicy Snow Peas & Shiitake Mushrooms with roasted almonds
Fifth CourseLamb T-bone Chops with asparagus, truffle mashed potatoes and red wine glaze
The decadent miniature versions of well-loved favorites (see photo at top)-Pecan Pie with Vanilla Mousse, Raspberry-Mango Cheesecake, Market Fresh Fruit, Key Lime Pie, Mocha Macchiato, Old-Fashioned Carrot Cake, Mejer Lemon, Rocky Road with Belgian Chocolate and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mousse
Bottom Line: Seasons 52, the "Chef-driven" restaurant which has created a new level for other chains to strive for, has continued its high standards of epicurean delight with its spring menu.
For hours of operation, reservations, directions and the full spring menu, visit Seasons52.com.
Photo credits: Seasons 52 and Izzy Evans
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC, and follow her on Twitter @GottaGo and Facebook. Gotta Go is published on BroadwayWorld.com, in M magazine and the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.