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Arty, Improving Wynwood Kitchen & Bar; Seasons 52: An Overhyped Concept

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"Everything about Wynwood Kitchen & Bar shouts artistic aspiration," writes Lee Klein, who adds, that it's a "very cool, stylish, exciting place to eat and drink--although it's not generally a good sign when most of the chatter about a new restaurant centers upon its decor." Chef Marco Ferraro, also of Wish, does "innovative American brasserie cuisine," but, says Klein, "the compilation of salads, sandwiches, sausages, skewers, burgers, and omelets that make up the bulk of this bill of fare could just as easily be characterized as glorified coffee shop food." He then reconsiders his adjective, saying "maybe glorified is too strong a word when you consider preparation and presentation."

Of a trio of Mediterranean appetizers, Klein says, "You can find better and worse versions of all three, but mostly better." Roasted beet salad "sorely lacked the promised shallot mignonette." Veal sausage that was supposed to come with the aforementioned Med platter arrived solo a bit later and "was substantial, but presentation flimsy. It lacked kraut, a slab of pumpernickel bread,a homemade pickle, or anything indicative of a chef-driven, innovative brasserie."

For entrees, potato croquettes were "delectable--two cleanly fried cylinders of creamy potato," but the creamed spinach was "creamless, cold, and bland." A lamb skewer "arrived with three of the smallest chops I've ever seen" and "looked like the amount of meat people generally leave on the bone upon completion."

So what's good at WKB? "Beer, burgers and banana pudding." Bottom line: "Wynwood Kitchen & Bar is brand new, which leaves us optimistic it will grow into a more consistent restaurant. (You gotta have hope.) Right now, it seems to be more about Basel than basil. Stick to the burgers and beers. Save room for banana pudding. And enjoy the art." [MNT]

Victoria Pesce Elliott gives 2.5 stars to Seasons 52, which has been described as the "healthy Houston's," a description she thinks is "pretty apt." The decor, she writes, "is about as generic as an Office Depot catalogue with cherry-toned wood paneling dominating the look, and a flaming fire pit in the entrance [that] creates the odd feeling that you are in a Vermont ski lodge rather than the tropics."

What worked food-wise? A lot, apparently. Flat breads, Cuban sandwich, "crisp, well composed and gently dressed salads," arugula salad, a simple green salad, "satisfying, hearty, smoky buffalo chili," "signature cedar planked salmon," a surprisingly great turkey skewer," and the list goes on. Really, it does. What didn't work? "Shrimp stuffed with a bready artichoke mixture," a "pristine, skin-on trout fillet coated in an off-putting gelatinous citrus glaze," "perky young servers with lots of training but not necessarily much common sense," and "an overhyped concept--most ingredients are basic and hardly local, from Hawaiian pineapple and California goat cheese to Canadian mussels, farm-raised salmon and chicken from one of the country's largest poultry producers." []

Seasons 52

7700 West Sand Lake Road, , FL 32819 (407) 354-5212 Visit Website