photographs by Justin Fox Burks
During my first meal at newly-opened Seasons 52, I made a new best friend: a small-grower champagne called Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Sainte Anne. Rich and velvety, the wine was elegant but accessible, much like master sommelier George Miliotes, who paired the memorable bubbly with a tray of blackened steak and blue cheese flatbreads, a signature appetizer for the Orlando-based chain.
For six more courses, I was charmed by Miliotes’ picks, selected from 100 wines on the restaurant’s list. Two of my favorite pairings included a crisp and fruity Vinho Verde from Portugal with lump crab amuse-bouche and a De Toren Fusion V from South Africa, a Bordeaux-style blend for truffle mashed potatoes and a delectable venison chop. “Our list is about discovering wines we think are special and finding comfortable wines our customers already know,” Miliotes explains.
Open since January 30th at the Crescent Center, Seasons 52 introduces Memphis to a finely honed concept that offers opulent decor, an open kitchen along one wall, and a circular bar with a piano player in the middle. And like the wine list, the restaurant’s menu offers surprises sometimes missed by corporate chains, such as luscious desserts layered into shot glasses and Meyer lemons, grilled as a piquant garnish for seafood plates.
Entrees also change seasonally. These days, executive Chef Cassie Presley favors Branzino, a silver-skinned Mediterranean sea bass on the winter menu. “We roast it whole and serve it with thyme oil,” says Presley, who is not related to our city’s favorite son. “We are very proud of the dish.”