Eat like a gourmand: Seasons 52 unveils summer worthy menu

Eat like a gourmand: Seasons 52 unveils summer worthy menu

Seasons 52 is one of those restaurants that takes special care to feature the best of the season; The warm languid days means a new menu including warm weather ingredients from summer corn to watermelon.

Seasons 52 Restaurant, Rockville, Maryland - Image Jacquie Kubin for CommDigiNews
Seasons 52 Restaurant, Rockville, Maryland - Image Jacquie Kubin for CommDigiNews

WASHINGTON, July 2, 2016 – With summer comes sun kissed gifts of fruits and vegetables all on brilliant display for our culinary delight. A fresh grill and wine bar, Seasons 52 features dishes created from the foods that are growing, or seasonal, now, combined with heritage cooking techniques that bring out the robust and natural flavors of the dishes they serve.

Which means it all tastes good.  Very, very good.

Seasons 52 is one of those restaurants that takes special care to feature the best of the season; The warm languid days of summer means a new menu including warm weather ingredients from summer corn to watermelon.

All flavors layered, plated and served to satiate, satisfy and soothe.

For a corporate owned restaurant, Seasons 52 offers dishes constructed in a manner that allows each ingredient, each flavor to work with and alongside the other. The experience is one you would expect from a restaurant with a young chef determined to make his or her mark on the culinary world; a chef that is paying strict attention to the little detail.

The experience began with an amuse bouche of thinly sliced ahi tuna served with a tropical salsa and dressed with the crisp, fragrant chervil that appeared throughout the meal. Chervil is one of the fine herbs, tarragon, chives, and parsley, present in French culinary arts. A member of the parsley family, it presents a burst of flavor with hints of crisp, clean aniseed or licorice.

Ahi tuna served with a tropical salsa and dressed with the crisp, fragrant chervil - Image: Jacquie Kubin for CommDigiNews
Ahi tuna served with a tropical salsa and crisp, fragrant chervil – Image: Jacquie Kubin for CommDigiNews

With this dish one quickly learns that this is food of a different level. It is meant, as good food is, to be eaten slowly, savored with each flavor allowed to shine while perfectly complimenting the totality of the dish.  And this was no one time home run.

Chef Christophe Holmes, Seasons 52 - Image: Jacquie Kubin for CommDigiNews
Chef Christophe Holmes, Seasons 52 – Image: Jacquie Kubin for CommDigiNews
Summer Corn soup - Image Jacquie Kubin for CommDigiNews
Summer Corn soup – Image Jacquie Kubin for CommDigiNews

Chef Christophe Holmes continued this magic through a series of courses, one not better than the next, but all remarkable.

Corn chowder is one of those dishes that normally sounds likes a better idea than reality. But that is not Chef Christophe’s Summer Corn Soup.  The dish arrives with the fragrance of corn wafting on the steam coming from the bowl.  The chowder is neither too smooth nor too thick.  What it is is a silken potage with the robust flavor of summer corn, highlighted by diced chives and crumbles of crisp bacon.

The pieces of corn throughout the soup maintain their just sliced from the cob freshness and sweet flavor.

Watermelon salad has many different plating presentations.  Served in slices on the rind, sometimes charred on the grill or in cube or balls tossed with feta.  The watermelon salad at Seasons 52 presented three towers of summer sweet, bright red watermelon resting on tomato rounds and dressed in a lemon vinaigrette.

Fresh creamy feta is offset with rings of flavanoid rich red onions, chervil appears again alongside freshly milled black pepper. A light lemon aioli adds a bit of citrus to pop the sweetness of the watermelon.

Watermelon Salad with summer tomato, feta, red onion and chervil - Image: Jacquie Kubin for CommDigiNews
Watermelon Salad with summer tomato, feta, red onion and chervil – Image: Jacquie Kubin for CommDigiNews

This dish requires a carefully constructed fork in order to combine each of the flavors to their fullest. Take your time and savor this large enough to share dish.

Lobster flatbread - Image by Jacquie Kubin for CommDigiNews
Lobster flatbread – Image by Jacquie Kubin for CommDigiNews

With a traditional wood burning oven, Seasons 52 creates gourmet flatbreads, a wonderful appetizer or, paired with a salad or soup, hearty lunch. The lobster flatbread worked wonderfully with the corn soup combining fresh roasted sweet peppers, chunks of sweet lobster, slivered scallion garnished with lobster sour cream.

Sticking with gifts of the sea, the meals centerpiece was a delicious enough to covet, but generous enough to share entree of caramelized grilled sea scallops.

With this plate, sweet corn returns, but this time as a risotto that is creamy enough to be a potage, but with the firmness necessary to support  the large, sweet scallops on top.

Bringing bursts of color to the dish, as well as an explosion of summer flavor is the cooked to perfection snap peas and toybox tomatoes, cherry heirloom tomatoes that despite being warmed are firm, super sweet and loaded with tomato flavor normally found in a larger fruit.

Caramelized scallops over sweet summer corn risotto, snap peas and toybox heirloom tomato - Image Jacquie Kubin for CommDigiNews
Caramelized scallops over sweet summer corn risotto, snap peas and toybox heirloom tomato – Image Jacquie Kubin for CommDigiNews

The tastes of summer transcend the plate to what our waitress described as “summer in a glass”, the non-alcoholic Watermelon Agua Fresca, a combination of cubed watermelon (without the rind), 10 oz sugar, 5 qts of water, lightly blended (so as not to lose the color), strained and then add 10 oz fresh lime juice.

Watermelon Aqua Fresca and Maker's Mark Bourbon Peach Smash - Images: Jacquie Kubin for CommDigiNews
Watermelon Aqua Fresca and Maker’s Mark Bourbon Peach Smash – Images: Jacquie Kubin for CommDigiNews

When preparing divide the ingredients so as to fit into your blender, the blend for no more than 20-30 seconds.

The secret to the flavor is to let the mixture set for a minimum of one hour, but more is better, in the refrigerator, whisking before pouring.

Garnish your tall drink with a slice of watermelon and sprig of mint.

If you are looking for something with a bit of summer kick, choose the Maker’s Mark Peach Bourbon Smash combining bourbon, peach nectar and mint, garnished with a crisp wedge of summer peach.

Without a doubt a marvelous summer drink.

Despite eating a full meal, due to the quality of the ingredients, and the lack of unnecessary fats and fillers to fill out the generously served plates, there is still room for desert.

Seasons' 52 Desert Flight - Image: Jacquie Kubin for CommDigiNews
Seasons’ 52 Desert Flight – Image: Jacquie Kubin for CommDigiNews

Order a flight of their deserts, each served in its own square shot glass, and marvel at the artfully created Pecan Pie, Belgian Chocolate S’More, Mocha Macchiato, Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte and Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cannoli. Added to the flight for summer is a classic Crème Brûlèe with dark, sweet and tart Traverse City Cherries.

My suggestion is order a flight for two to share.

Seasons 52 names describes the restaurant’s philosophy that every season brings new foods and new ideas to create meals that are beautiful, healthful and meticulously prepared and plated. Whether you are already among the gourmand class, or just someone seeking good food in a great atmosphere Seasons 52 hits all the marks.

The only complaint? The salt and pepper mill on the table.  The idea of altering the flavors so carefully constructed with even the tiniest bit of salt or pepper is simply a crime.

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