Tis’ the Season for a Restaurant Preview: Seasons 52 River North

You know how sometimes divine providence throws you a foodie bone?  A light shone down on us last Monday when we received a mysterious email invite to a restaurant preview for Seasons 52.  We immediately got the googlin’ fever and checked out the scope of the restaurant.  River North, eh?  Must be semi-fancy.  Then came the menu snooping and the what to wear conversations.

As two small town bloggers in a big town, we didn’t quite know what to expect from our first media reception.  The first thing we noticed was that we had accidentally matched our outfits.  Ok, bright side, we are a more united front in our navy and white striped twinsie clothes.

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John State is Seasons 52 Executive Chef Partner

The second thing we noticed was the atmosphere.  Seasons 52, just a ferris wheel away from Navy Pier, sets out to be a casual wine and piano bar with seasonal rotating entree elements.  There was definitely mood lighting when we arrived and the pianist was crooning a little Dawson’s Creek like ditty as we walked to the reception area.  The restaurant layout features open spaces, a circular bar area, Frank Lloyd Wright inspired design and *highlight* a chef’s table where you can spy on and get served by the executive chef of the restaurant…oh the pressure for those line cooks as you scrutinize their every chop!

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What we ate: We started off with two flatbreads.  The crust was noticeably buttery and crisp (but not microwave pizza rock solid) which was a nice balance.  The ripe plum tomato and mozzarella flatbread with basil was not unique but satisfying.  The Sonoma goat cheese flatbread was more intriguing with luscious chunks of roasted garlic, a trio of mushrooms (black trumpet, portobello and oyster), spinach and scallions.  Kate HATES goat cheese, yet it was mild enough that she actually didn’t spit the flatbread into her napkin and admittedly, enjoyed it.

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Sonoma Goat Cheese Trio Mushroms (top right) and Ripe Plum Tomato (bottom right)

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Spicy Chipotle Shrimp (left) and Piedmontese Beef & Black Bean Chili (bottom right)

Next, came an only made for us goat cheese stuffed ravioli with chive aioli and shaved root veggies on top.  The staff was kind enough to treat us due to the rest of the samples being meaty (short ribby and chipotle pineapple shrimpy to be exact).  Marty, the most knowledgeable server in the history of mankind aka the Aristotle of waiter-ing, explained that two key attractive features of this new joint.

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Seasons 52 – Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli (harvest vegetables, black mushrooms, roasted onion jus)

1) They have a gazillion menus to serve your (and our) picky friends.  That means your vegan, vegetarian, T-Rexian, salt-free, and gluten hating peeps can all eat dinner in one spot.  REMARKABLE!

2) Certain menu items and pieces of entrees change with the seasons to produce peak flavor.  For example, mushrooms, root vegetables, goat cheese, pumpkin seeds, and other fall goodies appear in fall only.  As a contrast, items like berries, melons and cucumbers would find their way back to you in summer.

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Seasons 52 menu includes gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, lactose-free, sodium-friendly and garlic-free

Finally, the epic portion of our evening was about 8 baby parfait desserts to choose from.  We split them to avoid the old “pants splitting at a restaurant” dilemma.  One surprise favorite was a creamy key lime parfait and of course, good ol’ pumpkin  was right in season.  Seasons 52 also offers a fresh fruit parfait for your more health conscious self.  We met famed Ask.com health blogger, Nina Cherie, at the reception and she modeled appropriate dessert choosing.  *Sigh* P.S. She’s awesome!

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Seasons 52 – Mini Indulgence includes Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse, Key Lime Pie, Mocha Macchiato, Pecan Pie with Vanilla Mousse, Pumpkin Pie with Ginger Snap Crust, Belgian Chocolate Rocky Road, Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cannoli and Market Fresh Fruit

Any “eh ok” things?: Seasons 52 is in River North.  Parking, meh, might wanna take the red line el train..oh wait! VENTRA (fist shaking).

What we LOVED the most: The service!  All the staff were not just aware of their craft but were interesting, friendly people.  We had a long conversation with the super attentive and yoga loving server, Kelly as she toured us around the restaurant, refilled our drinks non stop and encouraged us to take free dessert home.  Need we say more?

Seasons 52 opened October 17th for all.  Go get your own review on and tell us what you think!

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