Barge of Happiness

Shopping is hard work. I’ve always known that. But recently it was acute, directly linked to my daughter who came for a visit.

We diligently covered our favorite haunts, which naturally ramped up our appetites. I had just the place in mind to settle.

Seasons 52 is a stylish restaurant, tucked neatly into the niche formerly held by Eddie Bauer’s enviable corner location on the Country Club Plaza. From any vantage point,

this restaurant is chic and comfortable either in the bar, where live music entertains nightly, or the cozy dining room.

One of the perks of Seasons is Matt. This knowledgeable server, whom I had met previously, will steer you in the right direction.

Daughter in tow, we slipped into a booth at 3 p.m.

“Still serving?” Daughter queried.

“We don’t stop,” Matt announced.

Excellent. And so the dialogue began.

“Everything we serve is under 475 calories,” he said, as if my metabolism would ratchet up just for this sitting. “So you can indulge.”

Scanning the seasonal menu, I noticed the flatbreads and appetizers, sandwiches and entrees all begging.

“Bread would be good,” Daughter piped, but Matt shot her a mournful look suggesting that bread would escalate the calorie count exponentially.

“I’m starved,” she replied soulfully, dismissing the consequences.

Matt indulged and presented us with a double hummus and sea salt lavash while we waited. It quelled the rumblings momentarily.

I proceeded, ordering the spicy chipotle shrimp flatbread ($9.95) and the Maple Leaf Farms sesame duck salad ($4.25).

Daughter settled on the cider-glazed chicken skewers ($9.75).

“We’ll share the flatbread,” she announced.

Soon a bundle of bread arrived. The lavash, holding her attention intermittently, was abandoned as she, and regrettably I, opted for the warm slices instead. I say “regrettably” because I had such good intentions. With little self-control, I couldn’t resist the delectable carbs.

My flatbread, adorned with grilled pineapple, feta cheese and roasted poblano peppers, was so attractive I hardly wanted to disturb the design.

That didn’t last long.

The blend of sweet shrimp and pineapple married with the cheese and peppers was crisp and savory.

I bobbed for a chicken skewer that Daughter was busily admiring.

“...Happy that this isn’t just a bunch of kabobs on a stick,” she said, studying the sun-dried cranberries, toasted pumpkin seeds and organic mixed greens accompanying the spears. “Very tender,” she said, teasing a bite off the pick.

My duck salad — an array of chopped greens, apples, mint, cranberries, butternut squash and toasted pecans — was entirely too much food but it was nevertheless welcomed.

We agreed that the flatbread and the skewers were meant to be shared. The portions were hearty but not overwhelming.

Then with a simple flourish, Matt presented what he called “the little barge of happiness.” Eight tiny, individual servings of classic desserts: Key lime pie, mocha macchiato, chocolate peanut butter mousse, pecan pie with vanilla mousse, pumpkin pie with ginger snap crust, Belgian chocolate rocky road, etc., etc. ($2.50 each)

Not only is the presentation creative, the indulgence is measured. The portions, thoughtfully planned, aren’t excessive.

“I simply can’t,” I said halfheartedly.

“You won’t get a taste of mine,” said my daughter, cajoling me toward the chocolate peanut butter mousse.

Three spoonfuls later, smiles ensued.

As it turned out, Seasons 52 met with our approval. This Florida-based company is slanted toward eating well. Its forward-thinking approach to dining out makes this restaurant a good choice for waist-watchers.

My daughter was happy. I was happy. All in all, a delightful afternoon.

Seasons 52
340 Ward Parkway
Kansas City, Mo.
(816) 531-0052

Gloria Gale is an Overland Park-based food writer. “On the Menu” is not a restaurant
review, it is a summary of dining out in
Johnson County and the Metro.

photos: Steve Puppe