Monday, January 21, 2013

Upscale Dining – Cost vs. Value

Another dining coupon, another meal…  Where better to use a $25.00 Lifestyle coupon than at an upscale restaurant.  Laurie and I had wanted to have dinner at this particular restaurant for some time as we did have a very nice lunch there earlier in the year.  On top of that, Dawn Marie was visiting for a week around Christmas and I knew that there was one item on the menu at this particular restaurant that she tended to favor…

This is Seasons Café in Farragut Tennessee.  Their mission statement states that they want to offer a comfortable and casual environment for their patrons in conjunction with unparalleled service and product at a reasonable price.  They go on to say that this restaurant is an American style bistro designed around moderate pricing with high quality preparation and presentation as influenced by classical cooking.  There is also a significant focus on seasonal dishes and fresh ingredients.
The inside of the restaurant is indeed quite casual as were the patrons.  No one was really ‘dressed up’, with blue jeans and casual shirts outnumbering anyone wearing sports jackets or dresses. 

The menu is relatively short but it is varied… There are 5 Appetizers offered, ranging from Cinnamon Seared Diver Scallops ($10.00), to a Seared Blue Crab Cake ($10.25), and a Fromage Platter ($10.50).  For those who would just like a sandwich, there are 8 offerings available, including 2 hamburger selections, both priced at $10.50.  Other sandwich choices include Marinated Portabello ($10.25), Crab Cake ($12.00), and the Seasons Steak Sandwich ($12.00).
We skipped the appetizers and instead ordered salads and our entrees.  To start us out, our waiter brought us this flatbread and accompanying spread.  To be honest, the flatbread was flavorless… We would have preferred a nice basket of Italian or French bread…or perhaps a rustic sourdough. 

We have noticed that fewer and fewer restaurants these days automatically offer bread with dinner.  Call me old fashioned but I miss quality bread with my dinner!
Laurie started out with an elegant bowl of Grilled Zucchini Soup. ($5.75) She liked it very much… She had chosen the Chef’s Creation for her soup. 

The other soup option was the Pumpkin Bisque, a spicy and sweet favorite, garnished with crème fraiche and toasted pumpkin seeds.
Both Laurie and Dawn Marie ordered a half portion Seasons Fall Harvest Garden Salad. ($6.00) This consisted of mixed greens tossed with toasted almonds, crisp cucumber, red onions, artichokes, grape tomatoes, and creamy boursin cheese.  Their salads were very nice with really fresh ingredients.
For my salad, I went with my old standby favorite, a half Original Iceberg Wedge with Blue Cheese Dressing. ($6.00) Again, the ingredients were fresh…and the salad dressing was excellent.

Two other salads round out the menu.  They are the Spinach and Berry Salad and Seasons Classic Caesar Salad.  All of the salads are $6.00 for a half and $9.50 for a full sized salad.  Chicken, beef, shrimp, salmon or duck can be added to any of these offerings for an additional $2.75.
Dawn Marie and I ordered identical entrees.  This is the Rack of Lamb. ($26.00) This Almond encrusted rack of lamb is ‘prepared to perfection and presented atop a prosciutto-tomato demi-glace and it’s served with Seasons own purple fingerling potatoes.  Dawn ordered hers rare and I ordered mine medium rare.

Both of us, perhaps unjustifiably, expected more of a ‘roasted’ rack of lamb.  She said that her lamb was OK but she’d had better.  I didn’t like mine too much at all, as I sort of expected a crust from roasting and the seasoning wasn’t to my liking either.  Also, my lamb was also served rare and I had to send it back for a quick visit to the oven…
It must be “different strokes for different folks” because; to be fair…I must report that the rack of lamb is one of Seasons most popular offerings.
Laurie scored an entrée that was a solid hit with her… This was the chef’s special, Almond Crusted Grouper served over a bed of seasonal long grained rice with an Andouille sauce. ($26.95) I tasted it and it was very nice indeed…

There were 6 other entrees on the menu.  There was the Muscovy Breast of Duck ($16.50); the Cedar Planked Salmon au Poivre ($15.50); a NY Strip Steak ($26.75); the Autumn Breast of Chicken ($18.75); Garlic Infused Beef Medallions ($19.75), and; Spicy Seared Sea Scallops and Gulf Shrimp ($18.50).
What the heck!  We opted to try and share a couple of desserts.  This was the Crème Brule. ($5.95) It was very good…
This was the Chocolate Layer Cake. ($5.00) It was also very good…mighty rich and really a bit of a chocolate overload.  Other dessert options include cheesecake with fresh fruit and Key Lime pie with fresh whipped cream. 

It was too bad that Dawn and I really didn’t care for our entrees.  That ‘miss’ was somewhat ameliorated by the fact that my Lifestyle coupon almost paid for one of our entrees… Service was very competent and our waiter was helpful as needed.  The manager was a bit distressed about my overly rare lamb…which was a positive sign.  Pricing seems reasonable for upscale cuisine although I did twitch once when I saw that Laurie had ordered an $11.00 glass of cabernet.  Laurie and I will return…as we still have another coupon to use!
From my viewpoint, Seasons Café is a nice place to go for a special meal or perhaps as a treat for a loving couple.  It has 88% ‘Likes’ on Urban Spoon, got 4 out of 5 points on Yelp and it has almost 4.5 points out of 5 on Trip Advisor.  Seasons Café is located at 12740 Kingston Pike in Farragut Tennessee.  Phone: 865-671-3679.  Website: (Note: A second Seasons Cafe opened in the Bearden area of Knoxville back in November of 2012)
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by and vicariously sharing our dinner with us!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 


  1. One of our favorite places to eat....great sandwiches, and salads and their potato wedges are fantastic....good review Dave.