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Jackie Colson-Miller

Jackie Colson-Miller, CIPS
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3401 Henderson Blvd
Tampa, FL 33609
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Seasons 52 is a Winner on The Tampa Restaurant Scene

It’s Restaurant Week in Tampa, with over 50 of the Tampa Bay area restaurants offering “prix fixe” menus for dinner and it’s their opportunity to “woo” some local diners into becoming “regulars”, by “strutting their stuff”, with innovative menus.  If you haven’t made a reservation, it’s not too late.

As I perused all of the menus for Dine Tampa Bay’s Restaurant Week, I really looked for “innovation”.  Something different.  I am not a fan of “chain” restaurants, but there a few exceptions to my rule, and Season’s 52 is one of them.  They consistently serve fresh, seasonal (hence the name) ingredients in interesting dishes. Whether you are having a glass of wine with one of their amazing “flatbreads”, lunch, or dinner, few could complain about the great food and service at Season’s 52.

From the valet service, to the hostess staff to the wait staff, they are polite and accommodating.  Last night, we were seated at a quiet booth in the bar, on time for our 7 pm reservation. The dining room was full and the place was bustling.  I didn’t want to be “rushed” through the meal and our server, Amanda, understood. She promptly brought a basket of toasty Basil and Parmesan Crispbread, while we pondered the many choices on the four-course menu. When we asked about the “vegetable soup”, we were offered a sample to taste.  This is great “restauranting” at it’s best. Taste it before you order it!

We ordered one course at a time and savored the meal.  Up first, our choices were the Vegetable Soup and the Buffalo Chili with black beans and Cilantro sour cream.  We agreed that the Vegetable soup was a bit lackluster. It needed a little more of “something”…a puree, or dash of cream?  It was not even close to the spicy, flavorful Chili, with chunks of Buffalo meat.  I would order it again in a heartbeat!

The second course offered three salads.  I chose the Organic Arugula with goat cheese, grilled golden beets and toasted pistachios.  I LOVE Golden Beets, use them often in my own recipes, and wish I saw more of them on local menus.  The salad was flavorful, but a little light on the dressing.  I would have used a flavored olive oil, like blood orange,for a bit more flavor,  but it was very good.  My friend sampled the Organic Baby Spinach Salad with raspberries, pine nuts and gorgonzola.  It was yummy.

On to the Main Course:  Carmelized Sea Scallops Grilled with Roasted Aparagus and tomato-mushroom pearl pasta.  This came “highly recommended” and the server was correct.  It was the winner. Perfectly seared scallops blended well with the unique pasta.  My Roasted Aritichoke-Stuffed Shrimp were served with wilted leaf spinach, pasta pearls and a clam cioppino sauce.  The Shrimp were very  good, but the Clam Cioppino sauce was absorbed by the pasta and barely noticeable.  Without the pasta pearls, I would have given it better marks.  Also on the menu that night were a Cedar Plank Salmon, All Natural BBQ Chicken and an Oak-Grilled Filet.  It was a great menu, with plenty of options for every palate.

Dessert was a choice of their signature “mini indulgences”….shotglass sized versions of many classic desserts.  Just enough “sweet” at the end of an amazing meal.  Our choices…Key Lime Pie and Blueberry Cheesecake…I joked with the server that it was about the “antioxidants” in the blueberries!

The prix-fixe menu, for Restaurant Week,  which runs through September 2, is $35.00.

My wine, of choice, was not something one would normally pair with a light, summer menu, but the ’06 Christopher Zinfandel, was velvety smooth, with just enough “berry”, and the closest I’ve had to the amazing Turley Zinfandel. It was a nice surprise.

Once again, a great dining experience at Season’s 52.  We never felt “rushed” and we were two of the last diners in the place. I love the fresh, seasonal ingredients carefully crafted into innovative plates and the ever-changing menu.

Seasons 52 on Urbanspoon

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