If you took one look at your spreading, baby-boomer paunch and just knew that Darden's top brass had painted its bull's-eye smack on your belly button, you'd be absolutely right. Seasons 52 serves no dish that's more than 475 calories. Judging from the decidedly pricey crowd of doctors, lawyers, and silver-haired doyennes we observed, not to mention entire tables dressed head-to-toe in black, the marketing department has hit its target dead-on.
What the organizers apparently didn't plan on was an opening-night turnout so immense that patrons were practically coming to blows as they jockeyed at the buffet for tiny plates of quail with mashed sweet potato, baby bites of roast pork tenderloin, and thimblefuls of grilled sea scallops. Low blood sugar, the 30-minute wait in line for food, and the liberal dispensation of free glasses of wine combined to raise the emotional temperature of these well-heeled Fort Lauderdalians to well beyond boiling. After half an hour of fending off queue-hoppers wafting clouds of Estée Lauder, even our own unshakable self-possession began to wobble.
Seasons' food is pretty good. The restaurant promises to make minor adjustments in the menu every week to reflect the changing availability of seasonal meat and produce. Apart from the "winter greens salad," the "cracked wheat and cranberry tabbouleh," the quail breast, and the turkey with Vidalia onions, the menu was only sort-of winterish -- but we weren't expecting Seasons to be the East Coast's answer to Chez Panisse. More's in store: If the concept works at Galleria, Darden has its eye on Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens, two more cities where the boomer ranges freely.