I was actually invited to a blogger preview luncheon back in late August, but couldn't make it because of work. I was intrigued by the fact that the restaurant boasts that nothing on the menu is more than 475 calories. No oil. No butter. Nothing fried. How good could the food possibly taste then? Well, according to Gourmet Pigs and Tony of SinoSoul, who both attended the luncheon, it was one of the better media meals they've eaten.
So bummed I missed out. But, the very gracious Marguarite of Marguarite Clark Public Relations, who arranged for my Kappa Ramen lunch invited me to dine here too. I figured since I had to drive down to Orange County for one, why not both? It served as a great half-way point to meet up with lil' sis. Early November was the best time for both of us. I forwarded her the menu and links to both restaurants, and lil' sis eagerly anticipated what she wanted to order.
So as you know, we had a lovely meal at Kappa Ramen. Then bellies full, we walked around the mall to work off lunch and to do a little shopping. My brother had given me two $25 gift certificates to South Coast Plaza back in 2005 for my birthday that I still hadn't used yet. Yeah, I don't go down here very often these days. Nor do I like shopping at the mall for that matter.
But with the holidays in full swing, I rather enjoyed the Christmas decorations. Look at the size of that Christmas village. You can compare with the passerby for scale.
Oooh! Love how playful these balloons look.
Wide? Or long? Which do you like more?
A few hours later, it was time to check in for our reservations. I liked how the wood and booths gave a lodge-y feel to the restaurant.
Lil' sis got a glass of the Robert Mondavi moscato, California 2009, $9.50. I got the Pacific Rim gewurztraminer, Yakima 2009, $8. We both like sweet white wine.
We started off with caramelized Dungeoness crab and shrimp stuffed mushrooms with roasted garlic and Monterey Jack cheese, $9.95. These tasted great but the presentation made it hard to appreciate the crab or the mushroom since all we could see were the shrimp. I would have preferred it with just the crab and mushrooms, no shrimp.
Grilled steak and crimini mushroom flatbread with fresh leaf spinach and Wisconsin blue cheese, $9.95.
The flatbread was super-thin, and the steak and mushrooms were just perfect. The flatbread was huge, a couple of feet long. And despite the dough, wasn't heavy tasting at all. Lil' sis loooved the flatbread (her words, not mine).
We were originally only planning to order two appetizers, but the seasonal menu special of Dungeoness crab sushi rolls with avocado and spinach, $9.95, was just too good to pass up.
The sushi rolls were served with two dipping sauces, but we preferred soy sauce over the other. Unfortunately, the sushi was a little bland.
Lil' sis ordered the cedar plank roasted salmon which came with whole roasted carrots, asparagus, and red bliss potatoes, $19.95.
We love salmon and the smoky cedar lent a wonderful woodsy aroma to the fish. Moist on the inside, crispy on the outside, and so flavorful. Lil' sis said this was really good because she could taste the cedar (again her words, not mine). :P
I ordered the roasted rack of New Zealand lamb with mint pesto, new potatoes, green beans, and balsamic red onions, $26.95.
Yum! Yum! Yum! Not gamey. So juicy. So lovely. I was nice and decided to save some for lil' sis to bring back to oldest nephew. Otherwise, I would have easily eaten the whole rack.
For dessert, our waitress brought out this marvelous tray.
The hardest part of keeping the menu items under 475 calories was dessert. Seasons 52 solved that by reducing portion sizes. But how to reduce portions and still make diners happy? By serving dessert in these cute little shot glasses. Lil' sis "ooohed" and "aaahed" at the presentation. Then promptly snapped photos and uploaded to Facebook so she could share right away.
If you're here on your birthday, you can order the desserts on a tower instead of a flat tray.
We had a hard time choosing which ones we wanted to try.
Fruity or chocolate?
We ended up with (from the back left clockwise) mocha macchiato, Meyer lemon pound cake, pecan pie over vanilla mousse, and old-fashioned carrot cake.
The best part wasn't that desserts were all less than 475 calories each, but that they only cost $2.75 each! And seriously, between the two of us, four of these tiny desserts was more than enough. We each tasted them all and had multiple bites. While the desserts weren't anything extraordinary, Seasons 52 gets bonus points for presentation, reduction of calories, and cost.
I would definitely come back to Seasons 52 if I was shopping at South Coast Plaza. Afterall, I do still have one of the $25 gift certificates left... The prices are quite reasonable with generous portions, and all for less than 475 calories per item.
Who else dined at Seasons 52?
Gourmet Pigs and Tony of SinoSoul both enjoyed the media preview luncheon that I missed and got to try several other dishes that I didn't order.
Thanks again to Kristi and Marguarite of Marguarite Clark Public Relations for arranging our meal. And thank you to Seasons 52 managers Carly and Jaime for checking up on us, and to our waitress Jeannette for wonderful service. While the meal was complimentary, we did leave a $25 tip. Please do remember to tip your servers for their hard work.
Delicious food and a day spent with my little sister. What could be better?
Other South Coast Plaza restaurants:
Marche Moderne - Costa Mesa
Seasons 52 (Various locations)
South Coast Plaza
3333 Bristol Ave., Suite #2802
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
1 year ago today, UCC Cafe Plaza - Walnut (Closed).
2 years ago today, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (Japanese Garden) (Spring) - San Marino.
3 years ago today, my review of 9 frozen turkey dinners in "Thanksgiving Dinner for 1 :( ."
4 years ago today, Coq au Vin (French Chicken in Wine), the meal I wished I had in Paris.