On a sun-dappled patio at the Sofitel Los Angeles, with the soft sounds of a decorative waterfall drowning out the whizzing of passing cars on Beverly Boulevard and the occasional Cedars-Sinai-bound ambulance, I settle into an elegantly dressed luncheon table, take a sip of Perrier with lime and peruse the menu placed before me.

Mmmm, artichoke salad, grilled loup de mer and panna cotta? Sounds delicious.

But then I notice the calorie count has been listed next to each course and blanch.

Most of the dishes linger in the 35-calorie zone with only one, the main course, clocking in at 280. In total, over the next hour and a half, I will only take in 500 calories. By nutritionist’s standards, that’s a perfectly healthy amount of consumption. But by my supersized American standards, I can eat that in free samples at Costco without breaking a sweat. Sudden panic sets in until I realize I can always head to the food court across the street at the Beverly Center if I’m still ravenous after the last course is served.

Panda Express, anyone?

Except that isn’t the idea behind today’s tasting, which is in honor of the Sofitel’s new De-Light Menu. I settle into my seat, take another swig of sparkling water and relinquish myself to the possibility that you don’t need to finish each meal feeling like you just swallowed a piece of Stonehenge or breathing like a fat man going up stairs.

That’s exactly what the De-Light Menu is here to combat. Created to give diners a light, low-cal, four-star dining experience without oil, butter, cream, heavy meats and processed additions, the idea was originally meant to service business guests who were tired of eating salad in an attempt to stay healthy (especially when salad dressing can be one of the biggest hidden high-fat, high-calorie offenders in a restaurant), or who travel for work, sit through laden business lunches and dinners and want to eat food that is tasteful but still healthy. By utilizing local produce, chefs and nutritionists worked to come up with this menu to be featured in multiple Sofitel locations, in conjunction with the luxury Thalassa therapy brand.

Lunch begins with 35 calories worth of marinated scallops. The raw, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth scallops are flecked with matchsticks of Granny Smith and Fuji apples, picked up at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market earlier in the morning, marinated in lemon and offset by the mustard-y droplets of beet vinaigrette that dot the plate, which is small to be sure, but we’re just getting started here.

Next, a green pea mousseline, 25 calories, and black truffle floating island arrive in a small white bowl. The mousseline’s texture is more that of a thin, cold soup than the sauce I was expecting, but with its taste of pure spring freshness, it is the perfect foil for a smooth, fluffy mousse flecked with chewy bits of truffle, which hints at the flavor of black olives more than musky truffles.

For the salad course, a thin slice of English cucumber encases a disc of chopped artichoke hearts and crispy shrimp that I am convinced are fried, but are actually flash sautéed without oil in a Teflon pan and doused with a hit of soy sauce. Topped with balsamic vinaigrette tinged with dill, the salad’s “carrot dressing” is a spiral of whipped carrots spiced with curry that tastes like the best Thanksgiving sweet potatoes. Grand total: 70 calories.

Shockingly, I’m already starting to get a little full when the 280-calorie entrée, grilled and braised loup de mer, arrives. Rich and lightly licked with the char of a grill, the fish is so good you almost don’t need the accompanying sauces. But eat them anyway because they’re delicious! There’s a pistou made with pine nuts and garlic, a tomato fennel confit made robust with bits of meaty mushroom and several amazing mussels in a buttery garlic sauce made with low-fat fromage blanc from Northern California.

Finally, for dessert, vanilla panna cotta with strawberry compote, 45 calories, made with silken soy and fromage blanc comes in an adorable mini mason jar; nougat glace, 40 calories, a concoction of ground roasted nuts, honey, low-fat fromage blanc and egg whites that becomes a frozen soufflé that tastes like butter pecan ice cream and hides little raisins at the bottom; and, perhaps my favorite, mousse coco, 35 calories, a gelatin mousse of coconut meat and milk topped with a delightfully tangy passion fruit puree.

By the time the last dish was cleared, I was happily full without any feeling of heaviness … or the desire to ever eat Panda Express again.

Sofitel Los Angeles is located at 8555 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, visit lespala.com.