Ohhhhh man. I am so excited about Sage in Echo Park. The menu is a great mix of both light and indulgent items all made with good whole foods. I am so excited that I am going to write this post despite the low quality photos (I was having some camera issues.) I just can’t wait to share this food with you all.
On my first visit to Sage I was accompanied by two friends from out of town. We started with the Beer Battered Zucchini with Almond Crusted Fried Cheese. Unfortunately this was by far the weakest dish I’ve had at Sage. I mean deep friend anything tastes good but these little zucchini slices and cheese (Daiya, I think) balls were underwhelming to say the least. At $7.95 they are outrageously overpriced. For perspective, the cheese balls are about the size of a golf ball.
I was sorta worried at this point about the rest of the meal. But my fears were put to rest when the entrees came out, preceded by this simply but lovely salad:
I ordered the Green Bean and Portabella Casserole at the waitress’ suggestion. She told me it would not be what I was expecting and she was right; It was more of a goulash than a casserole. The menu doesn’t even mention the pasta which is one of the main components of the dish. Whatevs–I scarfed it down like a champ, despite the inaccurate naming and description. The gravy was so flavorific it tasted like it had been stewing for days. I would order this again in a heartbeat.
My friend Craig cautiously ordered the Almond Ricotta Ravioli. I say cautious because he is not the most adventurous eater and the “fennel lavender marinara” scared him.
This ended up being everyone at the table’s favorite dish. The lavender in the sauce was an incredible touch and the cheesy filling had a great ricotta-like texture. I definitely licked the last sauce remnants off Craig’s plate (it’s ok we go way back so I can do that.)
My other friend ordered the Smoked Soyrizo Burrito.
It’s very difficult to make a bad soyrizo burrito but this one was really elevated by the slew of components. The sauteed jalapeno is a particularly genius inclusion. The potato salad that came as a side was also delish.
At this point we were all totally stuffed, but that didn’t keep us from ordering a ginormous dessert. Perhaps the most awesome thing about Sage is that it is owned by the fine folks at KindKreme, everyone’s favorite raw, vegan ice cream joint They even have a little mini KindKreme outpost right there in the restaurant. After sampling practically all the ice cream flavors, we ordered a waffle sundae. I was imagining an Eggo-sized waffle but holy guacamole this thing was big.
Of course the ice cream was good (our flavors were something like mocha, coconut, and banana with chocolate swirl) but the waffle itself was incredibly fluffy. This is an epic treat that should be atop every vegan’s To Eat list.
A mere two days later, Craig and I summoned Kirby Von Scrumptious to join us on another trip to Sage. This time we ordered the Argentinian Bruschetta with Chimichurri appetizer. Did I mention that you can awesomely order from either the lunch or dinner menu during dinner hours? I wish more restaurants would let you do that.
I’m not sure what all the components were in this dish but basically it was an array of tasty things piled upon lightly toasted bread.
Craig liked his bite of the tofu burrito so much from our last visit that he ordered it on this go around. Kirby opted for the Jack Daniels Barbecue Jackfruit.
This was a knock-out sandwich. Our only complain is that it was too spicy. Kirby can handle spice much better than I can but even she was chugging water the whole meal.
I went for the French Grain Bowl which is a melange of grains, lentils, and veggies.
I absolutely loved this dish. It was simple but really flavorful. I didn’t even bother using the orange fennel sauce (it tastes basically like straight up OJ and I didn’t want all that sweetness to drown out the other flavors.) The artichoke puree atop the little toast was super scrumptious and I am already looking up recipes to figure out how to duplicate it. According to Lex at the Healthy Vegans, the chef will even prepare you a fat-free version of this upon request.
In lieu of dessert, I picked up a pack of KindKreme’s raw chocolate truffles to take home. Rich, silky, decadent, and full of super chocolate super powers.. that’s all I need to say about them…except this: BUY THESE AND PUT THEM IN SOMEONE’S EASTER BASKET. The recipient will love you for life.
I am essentially head over heels for Sage Bistro. The only problem with my two visits there was the service was incredibly janky. Our first night my friend ordered a soup that never showed up. On the second night, our food took over 45 minutes to show up–including our appetizer. This was actually quite a pain as Kirby was aching with hunger pains and I, for one, like my appetizer to come out ASAP. But Sage just opened and I think it is a rule somewhere in the International Food Critic’s Guide to Restaurant Reviews that you can’t fault a restaurant for bad service until they have been open for over six months.
I am more than happy to give Sage some time to work out the kinks in their service. I am dying to try their brunch which looks absolutely epic.