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Dining Review: Seasons 52


Ushering in a Healthy Season


You like figgy, figgy pudding. And you love sugar cookies, pumpkin pie, roast beast, and all the other goodies the holidays yield. Proof comes in the fact you indulged in them all. There’s no shame in it. November and December are all about decadence, while January is about getting back on the healthful, nutritional track.


Often, finding an eatery that satisfies hunger pangs without thwarting diet plans is the hardest part of shedding holiday weight. Well, that and finding the strength to dump all that perfectly good egg nog down the drain. Fortunately, tasty upscale dishes, all coming in below 475 calories, are the name of the game year-round at Seasons 52.


This low-cal wine bar and restaurant has been the talk of the health-conscious sect since coming to Westfield UTC in 2012, and is enjoying new buzz after installing a second location within downtown’s revamped The Headquarters complex abutting Seaport Village.


Visitors to the new venue enter into a large dining room with the wood and mood-lit charm of a traditional steakhouse lightened up with colorfully patterned seats and banquettes and the sound of briskly tickled ivories. The atmosphere is that of a bunco tournament in Dionysus’ rumpus room (over 60 delightful wines by the glass, and even more in bottle), with laughter and clinking wine glasses coming across as happy exclamation points.

The menu, which changes four times a year, reads like any contemporary seasonal bill of fare. An entire section is devoted to flatbreads, which come out in a portion formidable enough for a foursome to nosh on and, thanks to thin, nicely charred lavash dough, is crisp as a paper-thin Neapolitan pie and topped with just enough ingredients to provide plenty of flavor sans all the guilt.


Salads both small and entrée-size are expected, but resorting to such calorie-counting standards seems short-sighted with an appetizer section stocked with Sonoma goat cheese-stuffed ravioli in roasted onion jus, lemongrass-steamed mussels in Thai chili sauce, and chile rellenos that, while unbreaded, deliver tremendous flavor care of assertively spiced chicken, goat cheese, and pico de gallo.


On the main dish front, grilling and roasting keep the dishes light. Pacific King salmon (served in a much larger quantity than one would expect) gets cedar plank treatment and a tart mustard dill sauce, whole trout is both boneless and grill-marked, pork tenderloin is wood-roasted along with a meaty portobello mushroom and served with soft polenta, and the leanness of filet mignon leaves room for mashed potatoes and red wine sauce.

A weekly changing menu keeps things interesting, while a happy hour setup that gives guests a full flatbread, a wine flight with three two-ounce pours plus a six-ounce glass of the indulger’s favorite of the trio, provides nice value for your dollar. And speaking of indulging, this is one of the only places in town where intense sweetness is attainable without laying good intentions to waste.


Meals end with an octet of shot glass-portioned desserts from which guests may select their favorite. Choose from dual mousses of chocolate and peanut butter layered with incredibly moist chocolate cake, a layer of rich pecan pie augmented by refreshing vanilla mousse, a raspberry chocolate mixture served with a canola shell scoop, or any of the other insanely satisfying endnotes.


Whether it’s time for a vino-enhanced snack or a full-on meal with dessert included, Seasons 52 provides a good, health-conscious option during the conservative month of January and beyond. (858.450.1252, 619.702.0052, www.seasons52.com)   Brandon Hernández


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