Friday, August 8, 2014
Sage in Vegas: A Worthy Splurge
Dinner at the Sage restaurant in the Aria Hotel.
While deciding on which restaurants to patronize while in Vegas, my good friend Adam recommended Sage. He had dined there previously and couldn't rave about his experience enough. I trust his palate and had also read some other very positive reviews of Sage, so we decided to dine there one evening. Due to scheduling issues, we ended up going to Sage on our first evening in Vegas, and the experience set a high bar for the rest of the trip. It was a top notch dinner, with excellent wines and attentive service. A perfect choice.
Sage serves "contemporary American cuisine spiced with global influences" and includes "farm-to-table produce, artisanal meats and sustainable seafood.." Chef Shawn McClain, who also owns the Green Zebra in Chicago, is originally from San Diego. He has spent much of his culinary career in Chicago, and opened Sage in Vegas in 2009. This is a high-end restaurant, with an elegant ambiance that avoids being pretentious. The restaurant's initial dining area, which is a bit more casual, also has a lengthy bar, while the second dining area is the more elegant.
The food menu has several options, from a la carte choices to a few different tasting menus. There is a three-course Early Evening Menu ($59), a four-course Signature Tasting Menu ($89) and an eight-course Chef's Tasting Menu ($150). On the a la carte menu, you will find Starters (9 choices at $16-$27), Salads (3 choices at $18-$24), Steaks & Braises (4 choices at $41-59), Lighter Meats (3 choices at $37-$44), and Pasta & Seafood (4 choices at $41-$44). There were no Specials on the evening we dined, but the menu has plenty of interesting choices.
We started off with the Catherine et Pierre Breton "Le Dilettante" Vouvray Brut, a sparkling wine from the Loire. The winery is certified organic and is also seeking Biodynamic certification. Made in the méthode traditionnelle, this wine is produced from 100% Chenin Blanc, the vines which are about 40 years old. Dry and compelling, there were delicious tastes of peach and apple, with hints of citrus, spice and an underlying minerality. It was clean and refreshing, an excellent way to begin our meal, and a wine I would recommend to any lover of bubbly.
Chateau Musar Blanc, a Lebanese white wine. I've previously enjoyed red wines from Chateau Musar but never had one of their whites before. This wine is made from two indigenous grapes, Obaideh and Merwah, and is fermented in French oak barriques for 9 months. It is then bottled but not released until 7 years after harvest, so this wine was not released until 2008. It is a slightly oxidized style, and I loved it. More full bodied, it possessed a complex melange of flavors which intrigued my palate. Notes of honey and apricot, smoke and caramel, citrus and pear. Each sip seemed to bring new flavors to mind, and it evolved over the course of the dinner, getting more intriguing as the night went on. Highly recommended, and this wine appears to be available in Massachusetts through Ruby Wines.
Sadie Family Die Ouwingerdreeks Soldaat, a South African wine from the Swartland region. "Soldaat" means "soldiers" and this wine is made from 100% Grenache Noir, reminding me of some Rhône wines. The bold fruit flavors, from cherry to strawberry, were enhanced by spicy & earthy notes. It seemed both fresh and mature, an interesting dichotomy which made this a fascinating and delicious wine. Restrained tannins, a lengthy finish, and nice acidity make this another wine I highly recommend.
Overall, this was an excellent dining experience and I highly recommend Sage. Service was professional and attentive, the food was well-presented and delicious, and the wines were killer. If you are going to splurge on dinner in Vegas, Sage would be a great choice.