Sage serves upscale American cuisine on an ever-evolving menu. One visit to Sage will not be a clone of your next dining experience as chef and owner William Glover revamps his modestly sized menu every 60 days to incorporate seasonal ingredients. On every visit to Sage you’ll indulge in only the freshest of ingredients, carefully selected to pair flavors and presentation. And if you find yourself falling in love with one particular dish, don’t fret that it will be absent from the menu on your next dine-in: All menu items pull from the same influences and are unique in a way that it becomes apparent the head chef has contemplated each flavor, every ingredient, and it seems nothing will disappoint. Sage also has a full-service bar that serves specialty cocktails and martinis. The cocktails match the main courses in terms of creativity and presentation. Try the Blueberry-Basil Lemonade; it’s the perfect refreshment on a hot day.
After stints at Jefferson Country Club, New Albany Country Club and the OSU Faculty Club, Glover is now front and center at Sage. His interest in food has been lifelong, the result of a pedigree in which both sides of his mother and father’s family have been integral. His mother’s side is Italian; their dishes usually stand as the highlight of family gatherings, and on his father’s side, he grew up tromping around his grandmother’s restaurant. It would seem a safe bet that he would eventually end up in the culinary world. Glover’s restaurant is for those who appreciate an imaginative chef with a menu that is devoid of textbook-predictable entrees that you’ve seen on every menu in every city. You’ll find combinations that you have never dreamed of – blackberry ketchup? Yes, please.
The bistro is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday and brunch on Sunday. We suggest you make reservations, as the restaurant fills up quickly during peak dinner hours. You’ll want to valet your car since parking is scarce and inconvenient in this part of town. Though we sampled the dinner menu, the Sunday brunch has been touted as one of the best in Columbus. After our dining experience, we can imagine why.
Though Sage is located in a rather unimpressive portion of North High Street in Clintonville, you’ll pay no attention to the surroundings once you enter the dimly lit, earth-toned interior of the restaurant. Blank, colorful square canvasses adorn exposed brick walls on one side, and artwork hangs on the opposite wall. The atmosphere is relaxing and comfortable, conducive to good conversation. You won’t feel pressed to barrel through your meal. Linger, consider the flavors and appreciate the care that Glover took in designing each dish.
Before you delve into the carefully planned dinner menu, order a specialty cocktail or martini. The flavor pairings in these drinks are simple, but dead on. And if you become truly attached to a certain drink, as we did to the Blueberry-Basil Lemonade, you can rest assured that it will be on the menu on your next visit, as the specialty cocktails are staples. Enjoy a piece of bread, buttered with smoked sea-salt butter.
We sampled several items from Glover’s spring menu, all of which represented his unique style. For a starter course, we indulged in pheasant sausage perched atop a layer of white bean hummus on a toasted baguette. Though we’re not sure of the socially acceptable method of eating this teetering sausage tower (one bite, two bites?), it was a delicious first treat. Next, we tried the Cauliflower Soup. The mild flavors of feta and cauliflower were paired with hints of bacon and chives.
We moved on to three samplings of seafood dishes, which began with the Seared Scallop. A rich, half-dollar scallop arrived topped with the incredible blackberry ketchup and served with crispy potatoes. The scallop was predictably wonderful, but we select the ketchup as the hidden star of this dish. We tried the Grilled Trout served with Laughing Bird shrimp, haricot verts and a saffron vinaigrette that kept our cravings on high. Paired with the J. Hofstatter Pinot Grigio, our meal could have stopped there and it we would have left impressed. But, it continued, and next we tried the Pan-Seared Salmon with a truffle-cauliflower puree, mache salad with goat cheese, roasted red peppers and an herb vinaigrette.
Not yet disappointed, we were astounded as a substantial portion of Seared Foie Gras was placed in front of us. With braised onions and fennel marmalade and a dish of olive oil crackers to serve with, this item is one you won’t find on the menus of many other local restaurants. It was rich, delicious and wholly unexpected. The last entree was one of which variations have become well-known and popular at Sage: the Braised Pork Belly. Though comfortably full, we had to try it, but if we had to judge by looks alone, it would have passed the test. Topped with another imaginative ketchup variation – jalapeno ketchup – and creamed corn, we quickly understood why this dish is
For dessert, we nibbled on the Apple-Date Fritters. Though we imagine they weren’t, they felt like a lighter end to a hearty meal. The dessert is comprised of three fritters, caramel sauce, lemon curd, candied ginger and a dab of whipped cream. It was a futile effort to determine our favorite course of the evening, but one thing we were sure of is that we would be back.