Chef Lisa Savage presides over this popular Ventnor BYOB. Lisa operated Savaradio’s which closed up a few years ago and Sage is her latest effort. The place was highly recommended by friends and the four of us had high expectations for the evening. Through a series of almost laughable directional faux pas we were almost 40 minutes late for our 7PM reservation but the hostess was nice enough to hold our table amidst the crush of hungry diners.
Once seated we opened our wines for the evening and studied the enticing menu. On this night we were drinking the 2004 Franciscan “Magnificat” an excellent Cab blend with deep, rich fruit and a long smooth finish. I had bought the 2006 Ribbon Ridge, Oregon, Pinot Noir and I wanted something from the menu which would pair well with this wine. Our final wine for the evening was a 2004 Whitehall Lane Cabernet, a producer who manages to turn out very good wines every vintage.
We started with salads and although I am not one to rave about how good a salad was, my Caesar Salad at Sage was exceptional. It was crisp, fresh and the dressing portion was perfect. In fact, everyone raved about their salads both the Caesar and the Sage salad. For my entree I had the halibut (Halibut in Guazetto: pan seared filet set on top of fregola sardo in a lightly spicy tomato broth garnished with jumbo lump crab tossed with extra virgin olive oil and lemon 28). It went well with the Pinot Noir and the meal was enjoyable. The flavors were subtle, maybe bordering on too subtle as I might have preferred a little more kick to the sauce. Kathy had the shrimp with whole wheat pasta, JoAnn had sausage and pasta and Gerry had capellini with jumbo lump crabmeat.
The overall experience was enjoyable. It may be that expectations were set a bit too high. Everything was good but aside from the salads, nothing was great. Sage is obviously a very popular BYOB as every seat was taken and there were plenty of diners waiting for seats to open. It’s certainly worth trying again and I would not discourage readers from making the trip to Ventnor for a night at Sage.