February 4th was a “date night”, so my husband and I had decided to use a “Kansas City Plaza gift card” we had received for Christmas. After glancing over the slew of restaurants the card applied to, Chase chose Seasons 52. They served “American” food, and had a Wine Bar. I had briefly skimmed the online menu found at http://www.Seasons52.com to double-check for a vegan dish before leaving the house, and was pleased to find a few that would work.
The Seasons 52 restaurant in Kansas City is located in the old Eddie Bauer building at 340 Ward Pkwy., in the Country Club Plaza/Brookside neighborhood. The structure itself is an appeasing Spanish-style design, complete with an iconic Kansas City fountain perched in front. I liked it immediately.
We had an 8pm reservation, and were quickly seated. Our waiter was quite knowledgeable on wines (they have over 100 to choose from), and offered us a “taste test”, presenting 3 different reds. We both loved number one out of the three, a Spanish wine called Monte Oton Garnacha, Campo de Borja ’09/’10, and ordered a bottle.
I don’t normally divulge my vegan eating habits to waiters, more than anything to avoid the inevitable eye-roll or audible sigh. I am used to ordering dishes and asking them to hold the cheese, or minus the cream sauce. However, this time, my dear Chase asked the waiter what he would recommend for a vegan. The waiter smiled wide and said “Oh! Just a sec!”, and cheerfully returned with… drum roll please… A VEGAN MENU. I was floored. How delightful to have a menu with all the guess-work taken out of it! Not only does Seasons 52 offer a vegan menu, but they also have a vegetarian menu, a low-sodium, a gluten-free, a lactose-free, and a garlic-free menu on hand. (Indeed, upon checking the website again at home, there is an Alternative Menus tab on the left hand side under the Menus link that diners can refer to beforehand.) There is also a Nutritional tab, and a disclaimer that this is not an allergen-free environment.
Seasons 52 boasts casual dining, rotating a “seasonally inspired menu” four times a year (hence the name). I started off my meal with the Ripe Plum Tomato Flatbread, minus the parmesan cheese. 4 pieces of toasted bread bordered neatly a neatly sliced tomato, drizzled with balsamic vinegar. I chose the Farmer’s Market Vegetable Plate as my main entree. This included a roasted Bosc pear, butternut squash, and a golden beet. A triangle of Ponzu-glazed tofu and a delicious bowl of cranberry-almond tabbouleh completed the dish. My meal was superb. Chase chose the Roasted Shrimp, Lump Crab & Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms under Parmesan-panko crust to start off with. The appetizer came in an escargot dish. He joked about the not-so-existent crab lump, and voted it as only ok – not bad, but not delicious either. The stuffed mushrooms were blazing hot when served and by the time they were cool enough to eat, the entree came out, so timing was a bit off. He had selected the Wood-Roasted Pork Tenderloin as a main course. Chase felt the pork was rough on the outside and a bit dry; not as tender as he had expected. He didn’t care for the accompanying polenta one bit. He admittedly had picked the pork dish because it matched well with the wine (according to our wine connoisseur server). For dessert, Seasons 52 offers a selection of 8 different large shot-glass size “Mini Indulgences” for only $2.50 each, which are a perfect size to satisfy the sweet tooth without feeling guilty. Chase had the Mocha Macchiato, and I had the Market Fresh Fruit. They were both yummy. A cup of Roastery coffee topped off the meal.
We both thought the portion sizes were perfect. Only later did I realize that they strive to make every item on their menu less than 475 calories, another nice perk. Prices were moderate, averaging from $10 – $20 per entree. With two appetizers, two entrees, two desserts, a nice bottle of wine and coffee, our bill came to just under $100, before the tip.
There was live entertainment that evening, although we couldn’t hear it from where we were seated. There appeared to be a lot of nice tables in the bar area so patrons would not necessarily need to “belly-up”. Perhaps next time we will request to sit there to enjoy the music.
Although Seasons 52 is a “chain restaurant”, they are not huge, with only a handful of restaurants nationwide. Chase is willing to give the food another chance. And I am looking forward to returning to sample their Spring menu!
As far as rating Seasons 52, I would give them 5 stars. Chase, however, who was not nearly as enamored as I was, only gave the food 2 stars, and the restaurant as a whole 4 stars. We both agreed that the service was amazing, it is in a great locale, and the ambience is lovely. Combined, we would give Seasons 52 three and a half stars out of five.
Other critic reviews and blog posts may be viewed at: