At the newly opened Seasons 52, guests won’t find the traditional calorie-laden foods of the holiday season. Instead, they may be delighted to discover that there is nothing on the menu over 475 calories — not even the desserts.
“We use all-natural cooking techniques,” Executive Chef Steve de Barril explained, which includes the use of a brick oven and an oak-fire grill. Other secrets to the healthy fare: no deep fryers, no butter, and no cooking with cream. “We let the product speak for itself,” de Barril said.
The cuisine apparently speaks volumes, as the restaurant — which opened Nov. 19 in the Westfield UTC shopping center — already seems to draw quite a few people, from shoppers and businessmen to couples and families.
Located in a brand-new building with a stone exterior, Seasons 52 -- one of 26 in the Darden-owned chain -- has a prominent spot next to Sears. When patrons first walk in, their attention is often drawn to the wine collection in the “Chateau” behind the front counter. It houses a sizable portion of the establishment’s 2,000 bottles, from renowned wine producers such as France, South Africa and of course, California. Just a few steps away is the elegant Chef’s Table room, which displays “spiced artwork” -- aromatic herbs and spices built into frames on the wall and table. Up to 10 people can feast on a seven-course meal chosen by de Barril.
In the heart of the restaurant is the main dining room, which is timeless and elegant, yet casually contemporary. Its design is inspired by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, featuring autumn ledgestone and solid Honduran mahogany throughout, and hand-made vases add brilliant colors. Contributing to the ambience is a mix of tunes ranging from soft rock to jazz. Customers can witness chefs moving to their own tempo through the glass of the five-station open kitchen.
Just off the main dining room are two private rooms — Napa and Sonoma — that are equipped with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment. The dividing “wall” is retractable, allowing the spaces to be merged if needed.
Also adjacent to the dining room is the full-service piano lounge/bar, with operable floor-to-ceiling windows. From 6 p.m. to close daily, and all day long on weekends for the remainder of December, live music emanates from a rotating piano in the center of the circular bar.
Guests often request songs while sipping on beers or signature cocktails such as the Blackberry Storm, with Atlantico Reserva Rum, blackberry preserves, lime juice, agave nectar and a hint of allspice; and the Pomegranate Margarita Martini, a blend of Patrón Silver Tequila, Patrón Citrónge and pomegranate juice.
Diners who relish the outdoors may opt to sit on the wraparound patio and watch shoppers ambling along. Two fire pits are ablaze at night, for the enjoyment of people sitting at the tables or lounging on the couch in the corner. Some of them will linger after full menu service stops, as appetizers are available for an hour past the listed closing time.