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Dec 3, 2008 06:08 PM

Sage, it's back in the rotation

Sage is right in my neighborhood but I somehow seem to overlook it when deciding where to go. Tonight for a change, a friend and I decided that Sage would be the spot. We were very pleased with the choice. The bartender was super friendly and the service was efficient without being too quick (I like time to savor my wine and food and don't like to be rushed). They brought us the chickpea caponata to start (which was their treat). It was quite tasty, savory and tart. I ordered the mixed green salad which was large generously sprinkled with blue cheese and pistachios. My friend ordered the chicken liver crostini which at $5 was a huge bargain! It was two crostini with hunks of chicken liver and savory carmelized onions. She ordered the chicken milanese served with arugula salad drizzled with truffle oil. I think it was $15 and it was a reasonable piece of chicken (the bartender said about 7oz and he was probably right on). It was crispy yet tender and very good (though admittedly my favorite is the buttery chicken milanese at Via Matta). I ordered a small portion of carbonara which was chock full of pancetta and quite tasty, if a wee bit on the salty side (but I like salt so I'm ok with that). All in all, this is a great neighborhood spot that I'm going to remember to frequent more often.

1395 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118

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  1. Good to hear. Like you, I'm in the neighborhood but often overlook Sage. The few times I've been I thought it was just ok, and not much of a value. But I'm curious about that carbonara --I'm always on the lookout for an authentic one, which is surprisingly difficult to find around here. Was it a linguine or spaghetti? Do you remember if it had cream in it, or was it really just an olive oil/butter base? My guess is Susi would know how to do it right but I would love more details if you remember...

    4 Replies
    1. re: twentyoystahs

      Properly done, spaghetti carbonara has egg yolk and Parmigiano-Reggiano and no cream or butter, which is how Susi does it here. It's a really nice, authentic version that includes a generous handful of thick pieces of pancetta. The half-portion at $10 is a nice small plate or mid-course. In general, I really like the new small plates menu here: I've had a couple of variations on caponata (a chickpea one recently, lovely), excellent small salumi plates with good speck and sopressata, old standbys like short rib arancini and fontina-stuffed panzeroti. It's back in my weeknight rotation, too.

      1. re: MC Slim JB

        Yes it was egg yolk and parmigiano (which I'm sure gave it the saltiness). I had the half portion which for me with the salad, chickpea caponata and bread was enough for me for dinner.

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          The debate over what ingredients make a carbonara perfect is legendary, and of course subjective. My all time favorite version uses Guanciale for the pork and Pecorino Romano for the cheese.

          1. re: T.Clark

            Agreed. I think the key is not to destroy it with lots of cream, butter and/or other random ingredients. It's really a simple dish, and though the recipes might vary a bit, the common ingredients should be cheese (parmesan, pecorino, or a combination), egg yolks (or whole eggs), cured fatty pork (guanciale or pancetta) and black pepper. Frying the pork in a little olive oll isn't unheard of...

            Anyway, sounds like Sage's version is worth trying....

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. I am curious if the Chicken Milanese was a special? i just looked at the menu and it is not listed as an option and I wanted to go tonight to try it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Shefood

            I think the milanese is listed on this little extra menu called "bar classics" or something like that that includes other dishes they have periodically offered at the bar, including a little thin-crust pizza and a prosciutto cotto and cheese sandwich, if memory serves.

          2. Has anyone tried the braised veal cheek? I have wanted to try it.