Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Seasons 52

A new restaurant will be joining the many casual eateries in Tysons Corner Center next week, bringing a fine dining option to the shopping destination.

Seasons 52, the grill and wine bar opening in the Barnes and Noble-adjacent corridor of the shopping mall, will be coupling local, seasonal foods with wines from around the globe for diners with high-end tastes. Though the concept might seem incongruent with normal shopping mall fare, which caters to casual diners looking for a quick bite to eat between this sale and that, restaurant staffers assure that even T-shirt-wearing gourmets will be able to find a gustatory home in this chic space.

Inside a surprisingly ample space, considering its shopping-mall confines, low-hanging light fixtures and tabletop candles cast a gentle light upon elegant tables, chairs and booths, filling the restaurant with a warm glow. Upon entering, the senses are excited by the faint aroma of food to come, and the sound of a musician tapping out tunes on a piano behind the bar – a nightly fixture. Beyond the main dining room are several more intimate spaces seating between eight and 64, most geared with audio visual equipment to cater to business clientele. From one such room, the Napa room, diners can gaze through windows to watch chefs prepare their meals. They’ll see the wood oven used for the restaurant’s signature flatbreads, and the expanse of stainless steel countertops where dishes are cleverly plated, but won’t see one fixture of most restaurants: The deep fryer. At Seasons 52, all dishes are guaranteed to come in at no more than 475 calories, a treat to both the tastebuds and the waistline.

Flatbreads are offered to start the meal, both for lunch and dinner, and feature flaky, thin triangles of bread topped pizza-like with fresh vegetables, cheeses and meats. Though similar in style to pizza, the treatment in this dish is more delicate. The ingredients aren’t obscured in thick cheeses and sauces, and for good reasons: The quality of the flatbread toppers shine through for the simple treatment.

The restaurant’s seafood offerings are also top-notch, as evidenced by the remarkably vividly pink pieces of salmon served in one of the restaurant’s popular dinner dishes, the cedar plank salmon. The fish is cooked atop a thin piece of cedar wood, which infuses the meat with a mild earthiness, but still lets the natural flavor of the salmon do most of the work. In keeping with the restaurants low-calorie mandate, the fish isn’t drenched in butter and oil to make it flavorful, and instead is served with a hardly needed lemon slice to bring a bit of tanginess to the otherwise delicious fish.

In addition to its health-conscious means of preparing food, the restaurant also serves smaller portions of food than most restaurants. Case in point: The Mini Indulgences, which make up the dessert menu. With these tiny treats, the restaurant claims to have originated the small dessert concept, which has expanded to the point that most sit-down chain restaurants have some sort of miniature sweet. But Seasons 52 does not simply serve chocolate pudding in a shot glass. Their desserts are treated with the same care as if they were a full plate size, boasting about a dozen combinations, from the key lime pie to the customer-favorite peanut butter cake, which combine whipped cream, mousse, graham crackers, cakes and other pastry delights to make a petite serving of about ten or so spoonfuls of pure bliss.

The upscale menu also comes with an upscale price tag. Those dining at lunch time should expect to pay about $30 per person, and those eating at dinner time should expect to pay about $60 per person, unless treating themselves to any of the restaurant’s wines – which range in price and quality from the everyday to the extraordinary – or the restaurant’s special $117 chef’s table menu. While expense and the strange shopping mall setting might be detractors, staffers say that if the success of the Florida-based restaurant at its 17 other locations is any indicator, health-conscious locavores will be flocking to the restaurant.

Seasons 52 is located at 7863L Tysons Corner Center, McLean. For more information, call 703-288-3852 or visit Restaurant hours are Sunday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.