About a year ago, a friend told me about a magical restaurant where the food was sophisticated and delicious… and everything on the menu was less than 475 calories.
Of course there was a catch: it was in Costa Mesa, about 45 miles away (in Los Angeles, this often means the kind of road trip where you pack snacks and plan bathroom breaks). So my interest in Seasons 52 never went farther than a wistful sigh and a fist shaken in the general direction of Orange County.
But then, the glorious day arrived when a Seasons 52 opened in the Westfield Century City Mall. Lo, the healthy, classy foodstuffs became available to me and verily I say unto you that they were good. It took me a while to finally go, because a) I’d been kind of slacktastic about my weight loss adventure and b) I’d somehow gotten the erroneous information that the restaurant was expensive (it’s not cheap, but it’s reasonable for what you get; think Cheesecake Factory pricing). But once I did go, I was back within a week.
I love the concept behind Seasons 52: “seasonally-inspired with the fresh appeal of the farmer’s market.” They change up the main menu four times a year to highlight what’s in season, and their specials change each week based on what they’re able to find locally – hence the name. In the two dinners I experienced there, I tried quite a few dishes and everything was tasty. Here were the standouts:
Spicy Pork Taco Flatbread
Complex and flavorful, this may be my favorite. It’s got a kick, but it’s not face-meltingly hot. The pork is well seasoned and juicy, there are veggies and cilantro for brightness, and the spicy sauce and cheese make you forget that this is something that’s fairly good for you – it feels like cheating, in the best possible way.
Cedar Plank Salmon
This is a great, complete meal, the star of which is simply seasoned and perfectly roasted salmon, served on its charred little cedar plank. Paired with asparagus, potatoes and other root vegetables, it’s ridiculously satisfying for 470 calories.
This is genius: what they do is bring to your table this elegant little carrier with ten different desserts they call mini-indulgences (all served in tall shotglasses).
The server describes each of them, and then you and your friends ooh and ahh and take whichever one(s) appeal to you. Again, you can’t really go wrong – they’re all delicious. I did feel a tiny bit betrayed by the Pecan Pie with Vanilla Mousse when I did my food journal later; 320 calories for 6 bites?! Since then I’ve chosen lighter (but equally decadent) options, like the Mocha Macchiato.
It should also be mentioned that they have a full bar with a great wine list, and that their service is great. I’d really like to try their Chef’s Table experience at some point. Bottom line? I’m obsessed; this place is amazing. Check it out if you can!