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San Diego has a new Seasons 52 and we were invited last week to do a preview of the new location in The Headquarters (located right between the Gas Lamp and Sea Port Village). In addition to a seven course tasting menu we were also treated to a preview of their plans for Thanksgiving and some of the new "winter menu" items that will be rolling out nationally over the next few weeks.
For those of you who are not familiar with the Seasons 52, the concept is a fresh grill and wine bar featuring over 100 wines, including 52+ that are available by the glass. Additionally, their other claim to fame is that no menu item is more than 475 calories - something that we were assured is true, despite the fact that our dinner was rich in flavor.
This newest Seasons 52 location is built out as part of the newest downtown San Diego destination "The Headquarters", which contains a mixture of shops and restaurants. The Headquarters name comes from the fact that the building was the former home of the San Diego police department - features of which still exist, including a chef's table with a giant window which was once a roll-up garage door.
Our dinner began with cocktails and champagne at the bar before heading over to a private function room where we were introduced to some of Seasons' new as well as signature flatbreads.
One of these new flatbreads is the absolutely delicious Lobster and Fresh Mozzarella Flatbread, featuring roasted sweet peppers, slivered scallions, chunks of fresh lobster meat, lobster sour cream and was paired with Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Sainte Anne, Champagne MV.
Like many other San Diego restaurants, this location also features a sizable outdoor dining area warmed by gas fireplaces that creates a fantastic ambiance matching the food your are about to enjoy.
Our dinner was modeled after the Chef's Table experience that is open for anyone with a small to mid-sized group. This menu has items that may differ from the normal Winter menu, but most items such as this salmon and scallops above are similar to that which is found on the normal menu. In this case - the Cedar Plank Roasted Salmon.
This course was paired with the Mer Soleil Chardonnay, Central Coast - 2011, which upon first sip was a bit watery but after tasting the salmon responded with a surprising burst of flavor.
Another course I enjoyed was the Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli featuring harvest vegetables, black mushrooms, and roasted onion jus. This course was paired with Retromarcia, Chianti Classic - 2010.
It is always a challenge to single out one course from a fantastic dinner that is "the best".
This was no different, but the final course before desert made it much easier. This course consisted of Oak-Grilled Lobster Tail and New Zealand Venison Chop with truffle mashed potatoes and roasted brussle sprouts with a red wine demi glaze.
It was paired with De Toren Z, Stellenbosch - 2011.
Before heading on to our final course, Executive Chef Partner James Woodfork shared with us his plans for Thanksgiving at Seasons 52.
In addition to the Winter menu, Seasons will be presenting a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner similar to the above.
Finally, we come to the signature desert presentation that personally I feel defines the Seasons 52 experience.
I almost never order desert at restaurants because they tend to be enormous portions when all I really want is something tasty to top off a fantastic dinner. That is EXACTLY what Seasons delivers with the Mini Indulgences.
With selections including from Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse, Meyer Lemon Poundcake, Pecan Pie with Vanilla Mousse, Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cannoli, and Market Fresh Fruit there is something for everyone.