Sage is in the hotel Aria. Executive chef Shawn McClain serves contemporary American cuisine with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients.
Walking into the dining room I was immediately impressed: polished black tables, gold columns, purple accents and lighting, mirrored walls.
After a brief look at the menu, I both decided on the 8-course grand tasting menu along with wine pairings.
The service was very good. Our waiter was delightful and always happy to answer all our questions and bring us anything we needed. My only complaint about the service was that the first few courses seemed a little rushed. I had just finished one course and barely put a dent in my wine pairing and the next course was already being brought out. Luckily this was not the case for the later courses.
Vancouver Island Kusshi Oysters with piquillo pepper and tequila mignonette
I’m generally not a fan of oysters but I really enjoyed this. The small size of the kusshi certainly helped but what really sold me was the pepper and mignonette sauce. It gave the oyster a really nice, refreshing bite and let me focus on the taste rather than the texture.
Seared Black & Blue Tuna with baby artichoke, anchovy and quail’s egg
Every component of this dish complemented the perfectly seared tuna so well. The fresh acidity of the tomato, the saltiness of the anchovy and the richness of the quail’s egg gave the dish amazing texture and flavour.
Foie Gras Custard Brûlée with bing cherries, toasted cocoa nibs and salted brioche
This is the reason I chose Sage for my birthday dinner. I love crème brûlée and I love foie gras – when I read about this dish at Gastronomnom I just had to try it. It did not disappoint. The foie gras was so smooth and rich. The cherries provided a nice tart distraction in every other bite and the brioche was both sweet and salty and practically melted in my mouth. The combination of the three was sheer perfection. It was the best thing I’ve ever eaten and I wish I could have it every day. Whenever I’m in Vegas in the future the foie gras custard will keep me coming back to Sage.
Lobster Ravioli with lemon-olive oil puree, baby green beans and sweet corn
I usually find lobster a little chewy, but this was a very nice, delicate preparation. The sauce was not overpowering and the sweet corn added some much appreciated extra texture.
Alaskan Halibut with pancetta and mushroom risotto
This wasn’t my favourite dish. The halibut was a little bland and even the pancetta did not give it the extra oomph it needed. The mushroom risotto on the other hand was wonderfully creamy and flavourful, but I preferred it on its own rather than with the fish.
Grilled Steak with chanterelle mushroom
This was a great piece of steak, cooked to tender perfection.
After the steak came the intermezzo sorbet. I can’t for the life of me remember what kind it was, and I forgot to take a picture. It tasted very green and fresh and it was enjoyable.
After an amazing meal, dessert was unfortunately a disappointment. The panna cotta on its own was a little bland (though admittedly panna cotta is not one of my favourites). The iced cream was terrible. It tasted like Captain Crunch Maybe if you ate this as a child it would bring back some retro memories and make you look more fondly at the dish. However, the taste of sugary children’s breakfast cereal is not what I look for in a dessert. This was the only dish I didn’t finish.
Spiced chocolate soup
I was very appreciative of this rich, sweet chocolate drink to erase the memory of the panna cotta and end the meal on a high note.
I really enjoyed my meal at Sage. With the exception of the dessert every dish was exquisite and made me feel good about picking Sage for my birthday dinner. The only thing I would do differently next time is forgo the wine pairings. The wines were excellent, but I really only enjoy reds or champagne. I lack appreciation for white or desert wines so a number of the glasses were wasted on me. I also have a fairly limited appetite and the combination of 8 courses and 7 glasses of wine was a little too much. Next time I’d go for just a glass of champagne and a nice red and focus more on the food.
I recommend Sage to anyone looking for a great and reasonably-priced gourmet meal in Las Vegas. The foie gras custard brûlée is something everyone should experience. Bon appetite!
(This review is from October 2010)