Usually when Tammy and I go out to eat in or around Memphis, we try to hit local establishments first. But recently we stopped at a “chain” and were pleasantly surprised.
It was no surprise that both of us had forgotten our anniversary yet again, which meant we failed to make any dinner plans on the actual date. So, we sat at home eating dinner and watching TV like any other night, but made a date for the following Saturday.
I left the planning up to Tammy who was trying to decide between a steak or a really nice Italian spot. She settled on a spot we had heard a friend raving about a few months back, when it first arrived in Memphis.
To be honest, it wasn’t JUST because of his ravings, but also because we found out we had a gift card to the place.
So, armed with those two pieces of information, and a quick peak at the menu online, Tammy chose Seasons 52 for our ninth anniversary dinner.
Seasons 52, which is owned by the Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Red Lobster, The Capital Grille, and more), bills itself as “a fresh grill and wine bar, invites you to discover the flavor of our seasonally changing menu.”
Our Specials Menu features specials and new market inspirations 52 weeks a year. It features the future of Seasons 52, offering guests the adventure of tasting fresh infusions and flavor combinations which feature ingredients at their peak of freshness and flavor profile. Because the Specials Menu is constantly evolving, we keep it flexible and nimble enough to change on a moment’s notice.
We made our reservation, something we’ve only had to do twice so far in Memphis, Flight being the other, and planned out our evening.
Because it was a place that needed reservations, I broke out a pair of khakis (a rare sight indeed). I knew Tammy would look like a million dollars and I didn’t want it to look like she was slumming with me.
Since we had already checked out the menu, we had a good idea about what we would order, but I was curious about a line I saw on their menu that read, “Seasonally inspired cooking with every item less than 475 calories.”
I’m used to giant portions when we go out and was worried I would be getting a nice presentation with little substance while being charged an arm and a leg for it.
Fortunately that was not the case.
The inside of Seasons 52 was decorated very well with a mixture of modern design and old sophistication. You couldn’t tell it was part of a chain of restaurants as everything was top-of-the-line, from the wood around the booths and bar to the fixtures and chairs.
The hostess greeted us eagerly and we were escorted to our seats almost immediately.
Our waiter called me Mr. Wommack, which always makes me feel old, but is a very classy and personal touch. He explained some of the menu items and took our drink order.
Tammy ordered the Strawberry Coconut Skinny Martini while I slummed it with a Bud Light. The waiter came back a few minutes later to inform Tammy that they were out of the strawberry infused vodka. She was disappointed, but they worked out an alternative by substituting pineapple vodka instead.
Tammy was a little alarmed by the cost ($12) but she ended up getting THREE drinks out of it since they left the shaker on the table. The one sip I had was amazing and very refreshing.
For appetizer we got Lump Crab, Roasted Shrimp & Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms under parmesan-panko crust.
I was expecting 3-4 big mushrooms stuffed with goodness, but instead we got six smaller ones served in a dish that seemed to have been made just for baking this appetizer. Because they were so small, there wasn’t a lot of spinach inside and I don’t remember recognizing any crab at all. I do remember the shrimp, which sat on top of the creation perfectly.
It didn’t bother me at all that the mushrooms were on the smaller size because each bite was exploding with flavor. The soft texture of the mushroom and spinach were complimented by the shrimp and crunch of the Parmesan crust.
Tammy ordered the Kalymnos Greek (feta cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, sliced red onions, kalamata olives) salad with her entrée, an Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon with cremini mushrooms, steamed leaf spinach, mashed potatoes, red wine sauce.
Tammy’s filet was very tender, but “had a weird taste.” I thought it was the gravy so I tried a bite and it was very tender, but there was a different taste. It wasn’t bad by any means, just weird, and all I can think is that it as the oak grilling that was giving it the flavor.
She also added a lobster tail with her steak.
The scallops were cooked perfectly. They were fork-tender and each bite had a sweet flavor that melted in my mouth. The asparagus was fresh and snapped crisply when cut. The creaminess of the risotto brought everything together nicely.
Because the meals weren’t giant portions, we anxious awaited Season 52’s dessert offerings, which they call “Mini Indulgences.”
The smaller portions “are designed to feature high-impact flavors” and are served in shot glasses so they “have all of the pleasure and none of the guilt.”
Our waiter brought the dessert tray, which consisted of nine shot glasses, to our table and explained each option.
There was Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse, Key Lime Pie, Mango Cheesecake, Belgium Chocolate Rocky Road, Carrot Cake, Mocha Macchiato, Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cannoli, Pecan Pie with Vanilla Mousse and Market Fresh Fruit.
We chose five.
Don’t judge. They are MINI indulgences and they were only $2.50 each.
Tammy selected Pecan Pie, Mango Cheesecake and Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cannoli. I picked Key Lime Pie and Carrot Cake. I also wanted the Pecan Pie but we shared that one.
The didn’t look like very much as they sat on the table, but those little glasses were packed with incredible flavor. My favorites were the Key Lime Pie and Carrot Cake. My least favorite was the Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cannoli.
Despite all of the smaller portions, we left Seasons 52 stuffed and all without breaking the bank. The bill was under $120 before the gift card.
Not bad for a last-minute anniversary dinner at a “chain” restaurant.
If there’s a Seasons 52 near you, I highly recommend it.
6085 Poplar Avenue
Memphis, TN 38119