Faith Wachter Consulting

Happy Hour: A chain restaurant with promise.

Happy Hour:  A chain restaurant with promise.

Happy Hour: A chain restaurant with promise.

Normally, I stay away from national chain restaurants for a few reasons.  The food is usually mediocre,  unimaginative, and/or salt-laden, and the service is typically poor.  They emphasize quantity over quality.  There are a few exceptions, of course; and once in a while I’ll stumble upon a “new” chain that has promise.

Seasons 52 was one of those with promise–it boasted a seasonal, healthy, locally-sourced Sunset at Seasons Happy Hour (HH) menu, and it got some solid local reviews on Yelp.  Hubs and I decided to take a chance, and I’m glad we did.

Aside from not having a printed HH menu, the overall experience was rather good.  Our server was friendly and attentive and when I showed her their HH menu online on my phone, she cheerfully thanked me for making up for their oversight.

The HH wine selection offered several interesting options at $6 a glass–not the usual house red & white, but a carefully curated list that ran the spectrum of taste.  There was a nice list of cocktails ranging from $6-8 each and four $4 beer options.  That’s more than the usual number of drink specials offered at any HH!

As for food, we were not disappointed.  We started with the shrimp scampi skillet and the Kona-crusted lamb chop lollipops.  The tomato broth in the shrimp scampi was so tasty, that Hubs asked for more bread to sop it up.  The lamb chops were cooked a perfect medium-rare; very tender and flavorful.

Next up were the oak-grilled meatballs and the seared ahi tuna.  This time, our server brought extra bread for Hubs before he asked (nice touch), because that particular sauce was also really good.  The tuna was beautifully presented and delicately seasoned

seared tuna seasons 52

seared ahi tuna at Seasons 52

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The next round included the caramelized sea scallops and another round of the shrimp scampi skillet–complete with extra bread!  Again, beautiful presentation with the scallops, and great texture and flavor.

By the way, all of these dishes were small plates at $5 each.   Five dollars.

And because we’re looky-loos, we had to order the unique dessert presentation that we saw going to other tables.  It consisted of a collection of 8-10 shot glasses filled with different sweet concoctions.  Turns out the serving size is intentional to keep the calorie count low.  We selected the pecan pie parfait, the fresh blueberries in lemon pudding, and the deconstructed raspberry cannoli.  Each of these were $2.50.

Okay, to recap: the food and drink were both great, the prices were more than reasonable, and the service was spot-on.  Great HH, in my book.

But wait, there’s more.

They had a live jazz pianist/vocalist in the bar who played the most imaginative and creative two sets I’ve had the pleasure of listening to in recent memory.  He started out with “Girl from Ipanema” by Antonio Carlos Jobim–pretty standard fare for a jazz lounge piano gig.  I began to tune him out, until he started moving through his own arrangements of Coldplay, Ray Charles, Bob Marley, Billy Joel (NOT “Piano Man”), and Jimi Hendrix.  Yes, Jimi Hendrix.  Apparently, he wasn’t even their regular pianist; but a fill-in for the night.  Well played, and nicely done.

We’ll be back for sure.

Care to recommend another chain (or not) for Happy Hour?  Restaurant owners: want us to review your Happy Hour?  Let us know and tell us why!

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