Wednesday, June 20

Infused Restaurant Review: Seasons 52 Unveils Wine-paired Summer 2012 Menu

You could go to years of specialized, intensive schooling and become a wine expert to learn how to pair wine with your meals.

You could.

Or.... you could just let a Master Sommelier such as George Miliotes (No. 152 of only 190 in the world) do it for you. The fact he is from Indiana's own Depauw University is another plus.

Seasons 52 unveiled its Summer 2012 wine-paired menu at a private tasting event where, once again, Master Sommelier Miliotes and Senior Culinary Director Chef Cliff Pleau paired up to, well, pair up food and wine. Naturally, you will be able to choose whatever vino you prefer, these are simply their expert recommendations.

Having been invited to the prior-to-opening event (read review here) I was suitably impressed to return for S52's spring unveiling (read review here) and last night's event. The Darden restaurant has continued to impress me with its menu, wine list and service. The entire concept is serve top top quality, local foods, be environmentally conscious (as with the new "green" water bottle made from Earth-friendly corn), and serve excellent wine. How can anyone hate that idea?

Below is the Summer 2012 menu items we tasted, wine pairings and descriptions, along with my notes:
Cocktail Reception
BBQ Chicken Flatbread-glazed BBQ chicken, balsamic onions, sliced scallions, melted Parmesan
Atichoke and Goat Cheese Flatbread-leaf spincah, balsamic onion and roasted peppers
Wine-Aveleda Vinho Verde, Portugal '10/'11
Note: This wine is crisp and refreshing, perfect with the goat cheese flatbread. If you feel flatbreads have run their course, there are other apps on the menu such as organic edamame, crab, chrimp stuffed mushrooms and spicy chicken chili relleno.


Click here for Seasons 52 full Summer dinner menu

First Course
Chilled lobster and shrimp spring roll-served with sauce trio of cool salsa verde, aromatic lemongrass, sweet-hot red chili
Wine-Hirsch #1 Gruner Veltliner, Kamptal '09/'10
Note: Definitely the Gruner coupled with the seafood. This is one of those, I-could-make-a-meal-with-just-these type of menu items. Seriously. They were light, yet filling; crispy, yet soft. I can picture nibbling on these while dining this summer.

Second Course
Organic Arugula Salad-
watermelon, grilled golden beets, goat cheese, jicama, toasted pistachios
Summer Vegetarian Tasting-grains of life, soft taco, chili relleno, vegetables, cedar-roasted tofu, mango chutney
Wine-Honig, Napa '11
Note: This was my favorite white wine served matching the watermelon as easily as the tofu with mango. I am not a vegetarian by any means. I love red meat. But, this menu selection could convince me to cut way, way back on meat and become a pseudo-vegetarian. Be sure to eat a bite of goat cheese with the beets or watermelon for full effect of flavor.

Third Course
Wild Alaskan Copper River Salmon-
corn risotto, fresh asparagus, roasted perpper, dill sauce
Wine-Chehalem INOX, Willamette '10
Piedmontese All natural, Bone-in Strip Steak 11 oz-roasted asparagus, cremini mushrooms, Fingerling potatoes
Wine-Markham Cellar 1879, Napa '10
Note: This red wine encompassed almost all of my needs in a wine ~ smoky, woodsy ~ the mushrooms and beef loved it as much as I did. Piedmontese will be the steak to request for anyone seeking a low-fat, yet still tender steak. The salmon (difficult to come by due to seasonal restrictions) with a dab of dill and red pepper was paired with the Chehalem and was soothed by the lemongrass notes of this Chardonnay.

Fourth Course
Mini-indulgence desserts-
mocha macchiato, blueberry cheesecake, raspberry & chocolate chip cannoli, pecan pie with vanilla mousse, Belgian chocolate Rocky Road, Key lime pie, chocolate peanut butter mousse, Meyer lemon, fresh fruit.
Wine-Jam Jar Moscato, Western Cape '11
Note: Moscato is definitely a wine to go with for desserts if you are not certain which to choose ~ you can't go wrong with it for cheesecake or mousse. Desserts also change with the season.

Photo credits: Elizabeth J. Musgrave; Seasons 52

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, freelance feature writer, and an Indianapolis performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her newest column, Infused at www.GottaGo.us and www.FoodandDrinkDigital.com and as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on www.Gottago.us, www.BroadwayWorld.com, in M magazine and these newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter. Connect on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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