Sunday, December 9, 2012

Seasons 52, Now Serving Delicious Low Calorie Food at Westfield CenturyCity

When you want something healthy but still tastes good while shopping at the Westfield Century City, head over to the newly opened Seasons 52. Everything on the menu is under 500 calories and they use no butter and no fryer. They also have one hundred wines on their list, 62 of them available by the glass.

I was recently invited to a preview tasting in one of their private dining rooms.
Our visit started on the patio with a glass of Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Sainte Anne, a small grower champagne, and a lemon verbena mojito.
So the verbena used in the mojito, along with a bunch of other herbs used in different dishes come from plants grown on site. There are some herbs on the side of the patios and there is a small "Chef's Garden" room near the entrance, and you can peer in through the glass door as the chefs harvest the herbs throughout the day.

There's a large patio area and it was surprisingly quiet for being next to Santa Monica Blvd.
We started with a crispy Chipotle shrimp flatbread with roasted poblano, grilled pineapple and feta cheese
Then we went into the dining room for our tasting. For an amuse bouche, we had dungeness crab and Haas avocado, pico de gallo, finger lime. This was paired with Aveleda Vinho Verde, Portugal 2011
I think this was my first time having finger lime, which was very tart, but all the components worked well together. The vinho verde is made with half a dozen native Portuguese varieties and is crisp and clean.

Next is a course I've had at the Costa Mesa Seasons 52:
Organic salmon on cedar plank, lemongrass skewered sea scallop, farmers market vegetables

To evoke the right mouth feel, instead of using butter they use vegetable stock thickened with arrowroot as the glaze. On the side is a bowl of salsa made with seven kinds of soft herbs (dill, tarragon, etc), caper, and yuzu.

These were paired with Mer Soleil Chardonnay, Central Coast 2010. The chardonnay is oaked, which I normally don't like as much but I quite enjoyed this one. It had a butterscotch aroma but didn't have an overly buttery mouth feel. A good wine especially to go with the aroma of all the herbs in the dish.

Organic field greens, grilled portobello mushrooms, toasted pistachios, aromatic truffle dressing (truffle nonfat sour cream). They bring the salad out in a plastic tube.
As they remove the plastic tube, you get a whiff of the truffle aroma
The salad was paired with Sinskey Pinot Noir, Carneros 2009. Salad and red wine is an unusual pairing but works here since the salad is very aromatic.
Sonoma goat cheese ravioli, roasted garlic, basil, organic tomato broth
They use 3000 pounds of goat cheese a month just for this ravioli dish! This was originally paired with Retromarcia, Chanti Classic 2009 but the Master Sommelier George Miliotes decided he wants us to try some fun wines. He brought us their "house" white wine (they don't really have one but this runs $7.50 a glass): Indaba, Chardonnay 2011 from South Africa. This Chardonnay is 20% oak fermented and is a good crisp wine, and great for the value. Vista Hills Pinot Gris from Oregon is an unusual one. It is an orange wine, a style which originated from Slovenia where white wine grapes are fermented with the skin on. With orange wine, you taste the lightness of white wine with the tannic finish of red wines.

Our final savory course is a duo of Mesquite grilled Piedmontese striploin and Manchester Farms quail, mashed sweet potatoes and bourbon chili glaze
Piedmontese beef has 25% less calories since it has more muscle content. The mashed sweet potatoes is made with nonfat sour cream, while the pear is simply roasted in the oven just like that.

These were paired with two hard to get wines: Alto Moncayo Garnacha, Campo de Borja 2009 and
De Toren Z, Stellenbosch 2009. These are interesting juxtapositions as the Spanish Garnacha is an old world wine made in the new world style, while the South African De Toren Z is a new world wine made in an old world (Bordeaux) style. Both were great wines but I particularly loved the fruity, palate-coating Garnacha, made with grapes from 80-120 year old vines.

Their dessert is the staple tower of mini indulgences. The peanut butter chocolate is a standard favorite but I also liked the seasonal pumpkin with ginger snap and egg nog with ginger snap.
While each is under 500 calories, the dangerous part is that they bring each table a whole tower so you can pick and choose which one to eat, but when you see them all you want them all!

To go with dessert, a glass of Selbach-Oster Bernkasteler Badstube Riseling Auslese, Mosel 2010

Seasons 52 is a great new option in Century City with a diverse wine list and you won't miss the fried food and butter here (just don't eat too many of the desserts like I did!) At certain times, they also have live piano in the bar area, and because they've just opened, in the first few months they'll be flexible with the minimum requirements for their private rooms (office holiday parties!)

Seasons 52
10250 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(310) 277-5252
Seasons 52 on Urbanspoon

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