Bob and I were so excited to be invited to a Preview Dinner for the media at Seasons 52, the much-anticipated new restaurant located between Mercato and Walgreens in North Naples. I had heard so many wonderful things about Seasons 52 from folks who have dined at other locations. Entrées are under 500 calories, with menus designed to suit every dining desire, from gluten-free, suitable for the lactose-intolerant, vegetarian to vegan—all made with the freshest ingredients. When it was our turn to find out for ourselves, we were certainly not disappointed.
What struck me first on walking in the door was the Lake Tahoe or Jackson Hole, Wyoming feel of the restaurant’s decor. The rustic atmosphere—lots of wood everywhere, with the wonderful smell of burning fireplaces—reminded me of our time living in California and the Northwest. We were taken on a tour of the entire restaurant—dining, kitchen, private dining and bar—all the while being tempted by the odors of an array of delicious flatbreads cooking as we passed.
After our tour, we sat at the bar before dinner and listened to the pianist, who was positioned in the middle of the bar on an elevated stage, a vantage point we liked very much.
When we finally sat down to dinner, the whole experience felt like being at the Vintner’s Dinner at the Naples Winter Wine Festival. George Milliotes, the master sommelier, described each wine we tasted and Chef Cliff Pleau did the same with each food course. All of it was marvelous—nothing fried (there is no fryer in the restaurant) and everything was fresh—and organic, when available. The entire evening, from beginning to end, was impressive. I cannot wait to go back. This restaurant is different from others in Naples, and will be a wonderful destination. Seasons 52 will be open to the public October 10.
Speaking of restaurants, we know the Naples season is off to a great start because Alex Bernard of Alexander’s Restaurant reopened last week after a summer hiatus. Bob and I were met with big hugs from Alex and his restaurant family. As always, we sat down to a most delicious dinner. Alex is another area chef who strives to serve his long-time following nothing but the freshest and healthiest menu items while holding nothing back with wonderful flavors and presentations. I would vote Alex’s spinach salad as the best I have ever tasted. Before I became vegan, his Phyllo Wrapped Shrimp and Macadamia Nut Grouper were my go-to items. Now my favorite is the Grilled Portobello Mushroom entrée—served with Yukon gold mashed potatoes, caramelized onions, grilled asparagus and white truffle oil. (I’m getting hungry just writing this.) It’s a good thing that Bob and I like to eat early, because the entire restaurant was packed by the time we left. Kudos, Alex, and welcome back. We missed you!