Located on the second floor of the former Borders Book Store, in the Wayside Commons shopping complex, there is ample parking as well as valet service. Seasons 52 currently has about 32 locations, scattered across the country, and emphasizes a seasonal and healthy menu, with no item, from appetizers to entrees, having more than 475 calories. In addition, they have a specially curated wine list, of about 100 selections, with around 60 available by the glass. The healthy concept, with wine, sounds like an interesting concept but is it executed well? Is Seasons 52 one of those mediocre chains or not? In short, they have started out well and show much potential.
For Lunch, you'll find Flatbreads, Salads, Soft Tacos, Sandwiches, Burgers and Entrees, all priced from around $6-$20. Try a Red Mole Braised Beef Soft Taco with jalapeño-lime slaw, guacamole, and pickled red onion ($9.75) or a Grilled Boneless Rainbow Trout with baby carrots, parsley roasted potatoes, & grilled lemon ($16.95). The Dinner Menu omits the sandwiches, burgers & tacos, adding more entrees, topping out price-wise at $26.95. You will also find a number of seasonal specials available with each menu.
The wine list has some of the usual suspects, but there is some interesting diversity on the list as well. For example, they carry 6 Sparkling Wines, including a Prosecco, Cava and two California wines. Their two Champagnes are actually both from Growers, which is something you don't see too often at restaurants. My only concern with the list is with its pricing. It is seemingly priced on a sliding scale of sorts, with the less expensive wines having the highest markup, which can be 3X+ their usual retail price. If I can buy a wine at my local wine shop for $8-$10, I don't want to pay $34 for it at a restaurant. The higher-end wines more often are priced around 2X their usual retail, making them a better buy.
They offer a special, Flights & Flatbreads, with two flights of three wines, one white and the other red, for $15 and you also get your choice of a Flatbread. There is a third flight, of three red wines, for $20, which also gives you your choice of a Flatbread. You get 2 ounces pours of the three wines, and then you get an additional 6 ounce glass of the wine you want from those three. In essence, you are getting two glasses of wine. At the usual price, the $15 flights might cost you as much as $28 separately, so it is a good value.
Our wine was for this course was the 2009 Retromarcia Chianti Classic, a more Old World style wine made from 100% Sangiovese. High in acidity, it had plenty of dark, dusty fruit with only a mere hint of earthiness. It is a relatively simple but pleasant wine, made to go with food. This is my preferred style of Chianti Classico so I enjoyed the wine.
We enjoyed two wines with this dish, the 2009 Alto Moncayo Garnacha and the 2009 De Toren Z. The Moncayo, a Spanish wine made from old vine Garnacha, was superb, with plenty of complexity, deep, concentrated black fruit flavors, a spice melange and a lengthy finish. A real stunner, that went very well with the filet. The Toren, a South African Bordeaux-style blend, was also quite good, more Old World in style than New, with plenty of complexity, a nice balance, and lots of flavor, from red fruit to leather. It also went well with this dish.
With dessert, we had a glass of the 2010 Selbach-Oster Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Auslese, a German dessert wine that was mildly sweet, with good acidity and pleasant citrus flavors. Another nice pairing with the sweet desserts.
Overall, I find much to like about Seasons 52, from its focus on wine and healthy food, to its tasty dishes and diverse wine selections. Pricing of the food seems reasonable, though wine pricing on their less expensive bottles is too high, partially balanced by their more reasonable markups on their higher end wines. This is one of the better chains and is a welcome addition to the Burlington area. If you are seeking a healthier dining alternative, this is a good option, and their food is delicious enough that it will appeal to even those much less concerned about eating healthy.
Have you dined at any of the other Season 52 restaurants? What are your thoughts?