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Restaurant reviews in Tyson's and surrounding area... mostly

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Seasons 52 - A New American Restaurant - Tysons Corner Center, McLean, VA

Tysons Corner Center
7863L Tysons Corner (Lower Level)
McLean, VA 22102
Tel: (703) 288-3852

Don't ask for a basket of bread with your meal here at Seasons 52! That would defeat the purpose of having a meal under 750 calories, explained our amicable waiter.

Wonder whether this restaurant has any relation to the new 5-2 diet that everyone is talking about? This is a diet where you eat normally for 5 days a week and fast on 2 days. Would be curious if there is a connection. 

Seasons 52 has been expanding rapidly in the United States with 40+ locations today, trail blazing the healthy eating trend that has swept across some parts of the country. Its parent company Darden Restaurants Inc., which also owns Olive Garden, The Capital Grille, and Yard House, was ranked by Fortune magazine in 2011 as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.” This may be a good thing and a bad thing in how it affects the quality of the restaurant's service.  The two servers we had were pleasant and knowledgeable about the menu. That's the good thing.  The bad thing is that servers were few and far between, obviously shorthanded, having to keep up with the busy and popular restaurant, running the large distances of the dining hall, so it took quite a while to get our food here on a Sunday evening.

Along with your meal, you'll be treated to a piano bar, which may or may not be your thing. If you arrive sans reservations, you may be stuck at the front of the restaurant in the first-come-first-serve tall bar tables along the crowded mall side with the added bonus of shopper watching.  Unless you have a booming Barry White voice, a conversation is challenging in this location, as you're battling both the noise of the mall and the piano bar music, but at least you have sufficient light from the mall to see your food. On the other hand, if you score a table anywhere in the large dining room, pack a flashlight, because the place is nearly pitch black. These are your seating options. Now for the food.

Sitting at the tall bar stools under the light of the mall, we began our meal with the Roasted Shrimp & Stuffed Mushroom appetizer that arrived in a classic escargot-serving dish. It was a nice tasty starter, despite being on the lean side (not rich at all). The best part about this appetizer was the delicious garlicky sauce that trickled to the bottom of each hole simply begging to be sopped up by a piece of a fluffy baguette. ALAS.... the words of our waiter rang in our minds.... no bread.

Our entrees were Steak Salad and Roasted Salmon. We requested the dressing on the side with our Steak Salad entree. The dressing came in such a miniscule portion that even for those people who are not dressing fiends, it would be laughable. Our waiter cheerfully complied with our request for additional dressing, while shooting us a look of caution lest we fully grasp the looming danger of possibly exceeding the allotted calorie maximum, as the Steak Salad was already a whopping 500 calories.  Further pushing the limits of our caloric luck, we ordered a side of Scallops (370 Calories) to go with the Steak Salad, thereby creating a Surf n' Turf. This was a good value for only $9.95. The restaurant also offers a Shrimp Scampi ($9.95) or Maine Lobster Tail ($10.95) as Sides, which are great deals, too, and would go great with any entree on the menu, but keep in mind, that they are 330 and 150 Calories, respectfully, so expect the portions to correspond to those numbers.

The Roasted Salmon was served on a wooden plank, as is the current trend in many restaurants. Despite being on the dry side, it was well-seasoned and the glaze added a nice sweetness to it. The side of steamed veggies was colorful and good. The pleasing presentation of all the dishes is definitely appreciated. 

"Any room for dessert?" Oh, yes..... lots of room.

There is something to be said for leaving a restaurant with the feeling that is somewhere past "starving," but quite a ways from "full." This would be fine had we not just dropped over $60 for our dinner, when usually for this price we would be bringing home leftovers. When we watched a sweet Millennial couple on a date sitting at the next table joyfully snacking on a basket of wilted asparagus, we understood that perhaps we are just a different kind of diners and require a different kind of restaurant. 

Luckily, just up the escalator (the less-gluttonous would undoubtedly have opted for stairs) on the Upper Level of the Tysons Corner Shopping Center, Le Madeleine was still open and still serving their rich, mouthwatering, whipped-cream-topped (and a strawberry, too) cheesecake with only 900 Calories!  Usually, after a fulfilling meal we do not crave, nor have any room, for dessert, making us wonder about the advantages of a low-Calorie meal that sends you running for cheesecake.  Dropping the Calorie-consumption level certainly is a worthwhile endeavor, depending on one's starting point. Many people may require a gradual approach to accomplish this objective. We believe in the old-school approach of eating a little bit of everything and not overdoing it on anything.  

We'll definitely return to Le Madeleine, but not so sure about Seasons 52.

 Lump Crab, Roasted Shrimp & Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms under Parmesanpanko crust (220 cal) $9.95

 Grilled Flat Iron Steak Bibb lettuce, summer corn, roasted tomatoes, crumbled blue cheese (500 cal) $15.95

 Cedar-Plank Roasted Salmon roasted vegetables & crushed potatoes, dill-mustard sauce, grilled lemon (440 cal) $20.50

"Entree Accompaniment" Caramelized Sea Scallops (370 cal) $9.95

Decadent Cheesecake from La Madeleine

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