Cafe Reviews

Girth of a Nation

Page 3 of 3

The crème brûlée was pleasant. Making good custard means using eggs. If I taste custard, the recipe is a success. If I taste egg, and I'm not eating breakfast, I'm disappointed. I tasted a hint of egg. The shortbread triangles on the side were thin, crisp, buttery and textbook perfect. The dish was garnished with the five biggest and tastiest blueberries I've ever seen. At first, I thought they were grapes.

The tiramisu was tirami-so-so. I'm tired of tiramisu, and I can't wait until everyone else gets just as bored with it as I am. Seasons serves a big square portion; the kitchen makes a huge pan of the stuff and cuts out a square when an order is placed.

The other desserts had so much more personality. No matter how good the pastry chef, tiramisu is ladyfingers, loads of whipped cream, and espresso. The crème anglaise and the espresso cream used to garnish the tiramisu were the best things on the plate. Save those sauces for a more inspired dessert.

Service definitely came with a smile. Most of the staff is prompt, eager to please, and friendly but not overly familiar. One server didn't know much about the wine I selected, but later she asked how it tasted so she could tell future customers.

Food comes hot off the grill delivered by whichever server is available. Once, the manager brought it. Good call. There is no reason for the food to be kept warm until a particular server can bring it. A good staff is a team. Rah team.

The servers wear jeans and white shirts. The shirts were just right, but the jeans, at least at dinner, seem a bit too relaxed. This is a casual restaurant, but it's dressy casual. Seasons' own Web page calls the dining room casually elegant. You might wear jeans or dress up a bit, but you're paying to be there. The staff should be a bit more manicured.

We live in a world where summer fruits are available in winter. They're shipped from the southern hemisphere. Often the food on our plate has traveled more than we have. I know what four or five hours on a plane does to me, so I can imagine what it does to a bunch of asparagus.

"Some chefs and journalists," according to Leslie Brenner, "worry that the globalization of gastronomy will continue until all we're left with is one cuisine."

Sometimes eating really good food isn't about eating what we want whenever we want it. Good food is about eating what's fresh. It's about food with good, strong, simple flavors. The food at Seasons, like American cuisine, is evolving. Although it occasionally fails to live up to expectations, it's moving in the right direction.

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Andy Broder