Florida-based chain Seasons 52 recently opened up two DC-area locations — North Bethesda in April and Tysons Corner in June — and this week they both get the critical treatment from Tom Sietsema. Though he notes that this is the "same family of restaurants that gave us Olive Garden and Red Lobster" and has some doubts about the claim that every dish is under 475 calories, the Washington Post critic has plenty of nice things to say and awards the restaurants 1.5 stars.
As he often does, Sietsema likes the appetizers here more than the entrees: the flatbreads pass inspection and the salads are praised for their flavor combinations, while he likes everything about the barbecued chicken entree except for "the industrial-tasting chicken." The miniature desserts might defeat their low-calorie purpose by tempting diners to ask for more. But generally Sietsema seems to like the atmosphere at Seasons 52 the most:
"In an age of 24-hour food news and chef worship, whoever thought of involving the kitchen in the dining room deserves a big, (dare I say it?) fat bonus."
Chefs deliver dishes directly to the table, on-duty servers openly covet Sietsema's cocktail and the open kitchen allows you to watch what's going on with your meal. It is a little bit too noisy for the critic's sound meter, though. [WaPo]
The Post's Bonnie Benwick check out BCS Barbecue in Bethesda, which sells lobster rolls in addition to ribs, pulled pork and your traditional barbecue options. She concludes that "the barbecue wouldn't cause a Kansas City pit master to watch his back. But for Bethesda, it's a treat." [WaPo]
In other lobster rolls news, the Washingtonian's Anna Spiegel does this week what few would ever dare to do — she tastes the lobster rolls from Subway, Au Bon Pain, Panera Bread and Marvelous Market. The Au Bon Pain lobster-salad sandwich was actually a little better than some of the high-end lobster rolls she's tried, but Panera's lobster sandwich "had a smell we can only describe as like an old fish tank after its been scrubbed with chemical cleaner." But hey, it did come with chips and a bottle of water! [Washingtonian]
Todd Kliman adds Jewel of India and Bibiana to his list of restaurants where he's eating now. Of the latter, he notes that the "decor is a bit of a buzzkill" and the staff is a little too formal, but the food has "the ability to make a hard thing look easy." [Washingtonian]
THE BLOGS: DC-Wrapped Dates sampled brunch at both the "charming" Bistro La Bonne and Tap and Parlour, where they mostly just liked the grits and the booze; We Love DC heads out to Rosslyn to check out the Santa Fe Cafe; EatMore DrinkMore admits that Rabbit isn't cheap for a salad/sandwich place, but says that it's worth it; District Cuisine thinks more people should be paying attention to the Atlas Room.
Seasons 52 Tysons Corner [Photo: Facebook]