2653 N. High Street
Columbus,Lori decided I needed some cheering up, so she offered to take me out to dinner - a certain remedy to the doldrums. She even let me pick the restaurant! After spending some time poring over some area restaurants I had not yet visited, I settled upon Sage American Bistro.
Located on North High Street just south of Dodridge Street, Sage is in a narrow brick building that one could easily miss traversing the busy High Street. Valet parking ($4) is available in the rear of the restaurant and is probably the best parking option.
We were quickly seated (after having made reservations as recommended) at a two-top just inside the front door of the restaurant. Fortunately, most patrons entered and exited from the rear of the building so the evening chill was minimal.
Exposed brick walls framed the narrow room with white tableclothed tables arranged to take best advantage of the limited space while affording diners appropriate privacy. There was a small bar at the back of the room. Behind that was a kitchen from which, if you were to judge it on size alone, one might wonder how the staff could possibly prepare the fine food we were about to consume.
One of the reasons I chose Sage is its rather eclectic menu. Among the offerings are Bone Marrow, Sweetbread, Pacu Fish Ribs, and Ohio Pork Cheeks.
I began my meal with the Grilled Caesar Salad ($8.00) which was delicious.
The smoky flavor was outstanding and was complemented by the dressing and the salty white anchovies and topped with parmesan cheese.
Lori selected the Winter Salad ($8.00) which was a fine Mesclun mix topped with a parsnip puree, fennel, pickled figs, and quinoa. The salad was dressed with a green apple vinaigrette.
Growing up, I had a dislike for figs because my only exposure to the fruit was in the form of Fig Newtons which I found abhorrent. I tasted one of the figs from Lori's salad and found that I had been missing out for decades.
For my entree, I decided upon the Scallops and Rabbit Loin ($27.00). Whereas my favorite scallops are those I had at Dempsey's Restaurant (http://eat-my-words-blog.blogspot.com/2012/11/dempseys-november-9-2012.html), these were seared very nicely and had a lot of flavor.
I had never had rabbit before. As one might expect, it was a mild meat, without a distinctive flavor but seasoned well and quite tasty.
The scallops and rabbit were accompanied by a wilted arugula salad with apples, walnut gremolata, more pickled figs (!), and a balsamic reduction.
Lori chose the Ohio Strip Steak ($33.00), a 12 ounce grilled serving cooked to perfection. Positioned atop crispy steak fries and a parsnip puree, the steak was topped with cider-braised greens and andouille jus.
Thank goodness, the serving was more than Lori could finish, so I was able to taste several bites of the steak. Delicious!
Never ones to dismiss dessert without at least looking at the menu, we found a generous selection of sweet offerings. Lori chose the Creme Brulee ($8.00). Whereas I love creme brulee, I rarely order it, only because I seldom find any that matches what Chef Hartmut Handke created at his now closed Handke's Cuisine in the Brewery District.
I was too preoccupied with my own dessert to taste Lori's, but she enjoyed it very much.
As I was reviewing the dessert menu, I found an item named Foie Gras ($12.00), but rather than the fattened goose liver delicacy (which I would never imagine being on a dessert menu, it was described as a carrot-ginger cake, with apple butter, and salty cashew caramel.
I couldn't imagine there was a typo on the menu so I asked our server to explain the dessert. He indicated that it was probably his least favorite dessert (hey, I appreciate the honesty!) and that it included pureed foie gras in the cake batter as well as a small slice placed on top of the cake. Carrot cake is one of my favorite desserts, so I just had to give this a try.
When it arrived, I was first drawn to the silver dollar sized slice of foie gras sitting on top. I carefully removed it, took a tiny bite and was rewarded with the glorious taste of the delicacy. I offered a piece to Lori and, whereas she tried it, she did not like it at all. It may be an acquired taste for some, but her wrinkled up nose suggested that it was all mine!
The cake itself was good, but I was unable to distinguish any foie gras flavor at all. That was disappointing because the price of the dessert clearly took into account the presence of the decadent ingredient. I finished the cake and then set about eating more tiny portions of the foie gras, savoring the taste, until it was sadly gone.
It was a marvelous evening with a delicious meal, outstanding company, and a romantic atmosphere.
Named after the young daughter of Chef/Owner Bill Glover, Sage American Bistro has found a spot on my list of favorite restaurants in central Ohio.