Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Jan 11, 2006 12:27 PM

Great Sage - recent experiences, anyone?

  • w

Great Sage is the vegetarian restaurant off of route 108 just north of 32. Some friends and I had tried it and had a very frustrating experience with the glacial pacing and order mixups. My friends had previously had several similar experiences. The problem seemed to be in the kitchen, and the harried waitstaff at the time told us that changes were coming "soon". It almost sounded like a mutiny in the planning stages.

That was several months ago. Has anybody been there recently (assuming it's still there!), and if so, can you confirm whether or not this place has gotten its act together? We liked the concept, the menu seemed interesting, and we'd like to go back, but after giving them a few chances with the result being a fairly low batting average, we now want to wait until we hear confirmation that they are coming closer to their full potential before we return.

Thanks for any info anybody can provide!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. This place can not hold on to any quality back of the house employees. In the last six months they have gone through two sous chefs, an executive chef, and many line cooks. One can only assume that the problems start at the top. While they have a unique concept something gets lost in the translation.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Food Guy

      I have eaten at this restaurant on numerous occasions and found the staff and the food wonderful. They also have a great wine list. Since they use all natural ingredients I am sure that I will be back again soon.

    2. I had posted the original post on this thread a year and a half ago. At the time, we had given Great Sage a couple of chances, but we noted at the time that the place appeared to be on the verge of revolt, with the wait staff and the front of the house in open hostilities with the kitchen. There were also reports of a great deal of staff turn-over at that time, with several changes in the kitchen in short succession.

      In recent weeks, I've noted some recs of Great Sage, and I was wondering if somebody can give me a recent update. Are the recs on this board an indication that they finally got their act together, and are now actually achieving the potential only hinted at previously during the times of turmoil? My friends and I really liked the ideas we saw on the menu, but had been scared off by the repeated indications of a restaurant in crisis. If indeed they have gotten back on course, I'm sure my friends would be very interested in giving them another try.

      Any reports of *recent* (last couple months) experiences would be very much appreciated.

      1. We went a few weeks ago actually-
        We like it a lot- only once last year we had an issue where our appetizer showed up after we actually FINISHED our entrees, but since, we thought everything has been fine.
        But this last time, we ate outside, and in the course of our meal, the table next to us (who were already there when we were seated) literally didnt see food until we had finished appetizers, entree and desert! (which by the way, for the first time ever, their lava cake actually tasted "off"- just not as good as the MANY past orderings...)
        I dont know what kept them sitting there- I couldnt believe it and actually felt really guilty. At some point the waiter literally just avoided coming outside at all to them. They flagged down a manager and got the coldest, most non-chalant reaction I'd ever heard. The food finally came out in to-go boxes (per their request) and they were STILL charged for them. That started the last argument we stuck around to hear....

        Food is great- location could be better, but after reading so many posts here I really hope they can fine-tune this...I love eating there.

        2 Replies
        1. re: threequartersleeve

          The experience of the table you mentioned, and even your experience of the inverted order of appearance for the appetizer and entrees that you describe are just the sort of things that stopped us going a year and a hlaf ago after giving the place several visits, thinking each time "Well, maybe they were having a bad night".

          Based on your comment that you've been going there for a while and not having any problems, maybe what you witnessed on your last visit truly was an anomaly, and they actually have improved. The fact that they are even still open also argues in that direction - I can't imagine them still being around if they were still having the consistent level of chaos we had witnessed in our three or four visits in the past.

          I hope I get some more responses. I really want to like this place and it would be nice to get enough confirmation of improvement to feel safe in putting Great Sage back in our list.

          1. re: threequartersleeve

            This makes me sad and really confirms what I've been dreading. I've almost loved Great Sage -- I'm vegetarian, and it's one veg-exclusive place that my meat-eating boyfriend will happily eat. We've had the spotty service issues before, but were able to get over it because the food was fantastic and it could be explained away because of a busy night or whatever.

            We haven't been back in months, and I'm not inclined to go back since he had an awful experience there on Mother's Day. Yeah, that's a horrible night to get into a restaurant without a reservation, but he and his family were out that way and decided to try. One employee told him it would be a 20-minute wait for his party of five, which was fine -- and then he turned around to another employee, who got in his face and really snippily said that no, they couldn't accommodate his "large party." If they didn't have room, they could have said so and he would have been fine, but he was torn between two warring employees, one of whom was unspeakably rude. So yeah... I'm not interested in subjecting myself to that sort of service, especially after driving there from Baltimore.

            I'd love to add this place back to our list of dinner options, but I'm not in any rush.

          2. We were there a few months ago and didn't experience any service problems. In fact I thought our service was quite good.

            The food was good - taste-wise - but my husband and friend's husband both ordered veggie burger plates. I say plates because I don't think either was edible as a sandwich, though if I recall correctly they did come with bread. Anyway, both dishes tasted good, but the texture was that of baby food (blech!) Friend and I both had great meals, and the bottle of wine we shared was wonderful. Overall, I would return ... I just recommend against ordering anything resembling a patty!

            1. I was there about 2 weeks ago- we had a great dinner. The server was young but very sweet and attentive.The restaurant & patio was full and we did not have any timinig issues from the kitchen.

              All in all a very pleasant dinner.