Sage West; College/Ossinton – A quick review
Sage West 924 College, (West of Ossington just before Dovercourt) has been open for just over a month now.
Overall we had an interesting, filling meal with erratic service.
Starters of “grilled smoked paprika shrimp, preserved lemon, fennel, cherry tomatoes and pineapple” and “grilled and deboned marinated quail, tart apple chutney, parsley oil, balsamic reduction” were ample and well executed but took half an hour to appear. (Only about two other tables were occupied on this Tuesday evening). These were two of ten starter choices, most of which looked equally unusual.
We had mains of “seafood paella, orange tomato broth, Arborio rice, smoked paprika oil” which was more like a soup than I am used to and had plenty mussels, squid, fish and shrimp in it and “brick cooked crispy chicken breast, root vegetable pave, stew of sweet peppers and sage” . I couldn’t tell the difference between “brick cooked” and a normal roast, but the pave and vegetables underneath it were different and good.
Sadly we were too full to tackle desert which included such tempting items as “carrot cake soufflé”, “orange cardamom infused sour cream cake” and “spiced pineapple bread pudding”.
Total cost of our enjoyable and whimsical meal was $75 including tip, excluding wine.
Ambiance was a stone floor, bar area, music stage at the far end and a sort of kitchen feel to it.
My speculation is, it is owned and run by a mature couple one of whom is a music buff – they have music offerings (piano/guitar) Fridays and Saturdays - who are not really used to running the front of the house of a restaurant, and they employ an adventurous cook. (That is what it feels like, but I could be completely wrong on this score).
Sage West also offers a brunch menu, menu for children and a late night eating menu.
Do sample these and report back!
I checked out Sage West last night, and had a great experience. For apps we had the soup of the day - a hearty kale, sausage, and potato soup, almost with a minestrone-like consistency. Nice smoky pieces of sausage and a great balance of tastes overall. We also had the winter salad - arugula, pear, and jerusalem artichoke with a lemony vinaigrette. Tasty and light, I love the crunch of jerusalem artichokes and they're an unusual addition.
Mains - fish of the day, a meaty sea bream fillet which was served pan-seared on a bed of fresh green beans, with fingerling potatoes and roasted veggies - a baby yellow beet was a nice addition. Easily my fave dish of the meal, and a generous portion - three pieces of fish. We also had the risotto, prepared with preserved (meyer?) lemons and topped with tiger shrimp. Could have been a bit more spicy, but that might also be in contrast to the sea bream - in any case, the lemons were a delicious touch. LIke AzulH says, I suspect an adventurous (and talented) chef in the kitchen!
Despite being totally full and being tight on time to catch a film at the Carleton, we opted for dessert - the orange cardamon cake (moist and fluffy) and a kind of mini-apple pie, beautifully presented. Desserts were $8-10 which seemed a tiny bit pricey, but the portions turned out to be enormous! We could have easily split one, but I'm glad to have sampled both.
While we were waiting for dessert and calculating how much time we had to get to the film, the waitress/owner invited us to join a gathering in the back part of the dining room, where two guitars were being strummed... turned out to be a trio of local musicians, jamming old classic rock tunes. They were extremely talented - older folks who had been on the music scene for decades, and done the circuit of major labels and gigs - and the whole things had the atmosphere of a kitchen party. We ended up staying all evening to enjoy the jam session, far better than any movie!
Moral of the story: never skip dessert :)
Dinner was about $85 for two, incl. dessert and a 1/2 litre of house white (a decent pinot grigio), excluding tip.
Anyways, going back for my dad's b-day tonight (convinced the fam to switch reservations from Batoche) - I'm wanting to try some of the meat on the menu, plus they are hosting an 8-woman accapela group from cuba, I believe. I'm a sucker for live music and good food.
Sorry to take a while to respond.
I meant that the service was friendly and well intensioned, just that the lady was somewhat absentminded. She "forgot" about us on occasion.
Don't let this put you off from trying the restaurant though, it was fun.
Do report back and let us know your own views.