Seasons 52 Restaurant, Coral Gables, FloridaThe restaurant chain serves up new upscale offerings

I have always considered the 43-location restaurant chain Seasons 52 a healthier option for upscale dining with low-calorie meals and small desserts that allowed indulgences without the guilt. It’s the reason I was intrigued by the menu changes at a recent dinner on Miracle Mile. The new Seasons 52 still promotes “lean” eating, and its offerings tend to be more health-conscious, but it is no longer about calorie counts under 500 calories. It’s about high-quality dining in a great atmosphere.

The restaurant aims to bring the best of the season to your table. Its menu changes quarterly to exploit the growing seasons and the fisheries, but there are tweaks every week (hence the 52 in its name) to take advantage of the vegetables, fruit and herbs and everything else purveyors currently offer.

Seasons 52 has a secret cocktail called a Botanical Buzz. It is a refreshing drink, made with Prairie organic vodka and garnished with a “buzz button,” a flower that you eat before imbibing. It definitely makes your taste buds dance. The flower looks like a daisy and has some medicinal qualities to it.

A restaurant can have exquisite offerings, but if service is subpar, it really doesn’t matter. Luckily, our server made our evening memorable, with excellent service and knowledge about the menu, the restaurant itself and wine.

We enjoyed the blackened steak and blue cheese flatbread with our cocktails. Our chef brought an amuse-bouche of tuna tartare, which hit the right notes and had interesting textures.

Blackened Steak & Blue CheeseNext, we sampled a delicious new appetizer—a burrata board served with caramelized bosc pears, prosciutto and honey with a touch of balsamic vinegar. This inspired dish was set off by a crisp Markham chardonnay. Another interesting appetizer is the duck wing lollipops served with an Asian chili glaze. Paired with a Pacific Rim gewürztraminer, the complexity of the dish was impressive. We also tried its take on hummus, which is crunchy, salty and served with crackers.

MediterraneanHummus-1Entrees were sea scallops with butternut squash risotto and broccolini—a satisfying, delicious dish at 500 calories. We also sampled one of the chef’s suggestions: Asian-glazed Chilean seabass with forbidden rice, snow peas and shiitake mushrooms. The starchy black rice was formed into a round, flavored with ginger and garlic and perched with sea bass. Both the fish and the rice were outstanding. The rice is protein-rich and part of the lean menu; it has more protein of any other type of rice. 

One thing that hasn’t changed is the mini indulgences. These shot glasses filled with decadent desserts are not to be missed. We tried the Key lime, pecan pie and chocolate peanut butter torte. Everyone had a different favorite, although the pecan pie was high on everyone’s list. At around 300 calories, everyone can partake in these sweet treats.

The Coral Gables location is intimate and the restaurant has a club feel with comfortable booths and tables. It offers many private dining experiences, including the 12-seat chef’s table. Parking was a breeze with the valet located right in front of the restaurant at a reasonable $5.

Duck-Lollipops-2Orlando-based Seasons 52 has evolved into a better version of itself. The food is even more seasonal and richer in flavor and with more than 100 wines by the bottle and 52 by the glass, you can pair your food to your  heart’s content.

Seasons 52 321 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables 305.442.8552; seasons52.com