Here is a recent experience that we had at Sage on the Coast in Newport Beach.
For pictures of the meal we had, please take a look at our blog.
09.09.09 was our 2nd year anniversary and we wanted to celebrate it near the beach. Sage on the Coast is a fine local restaurant in the Crystal Cove Promenade plaza at the end of the strip. The atmosphere was friendly and not too pretentious as other Newport Beach restaurants. We made reservations for the Wednesday and was a bit embarrassed that we did because the place was pretty empty. There were only 2 tables occupied in the whole main dining area and a few more tables in the patio. But I shouldn't complaint because sitting in the patio was romantic and private, especially with the lighting, which made our anniversary night special.
The bread had these delightful bread crisps that were dusted with Parmesan cheese and dried rosemary and tasted so delicious.
We each ordered the tasting menu which includes the 3 courses and a dessert for $35. For an extra $10, the tasting menu is paired with 3 glasses of wine. Good deal!
For the first, we had Balsamic Grilled Peaches over arugula, onions, and walnuts. The dish was good, the arugula a bit soft and a little bit heavy on the dressing. There was nothing that particularly stood out. The peaches were served warm, reminding me of comfort food in the winter. Eating these types of "salad" requires eating all of the different components at the same time for a worthy taste.
Wine: Roederer Estate, Brut - Anderson Valley, NV
For the second course, I had the Blackened Sea Bass and Vegetable Enchiladas wth spinach, summer squash, mozzarella, grilled corn, tomatoes, parmesan, and guajillo sauce. The fish was moist and crisp on the outside. The roasted tomatoes on top of the enchilada added a nice juicy dimension to the it.
Wine: Merum, Monastrell - Jumilla, Spain 2006
The chef kindly accommodated my non-seafood eating husband with the enchilada and pork crepe instead of the sea bass. The crepe tasted more like a barbeque pulled pork taco. The braised/pulled pork was encased with a "crepe" wrapping. The barbeque flavor was unexpected but he nevertheless enjoyed the dish overall.
As for the third course, we had the Grilled Sirloin Bruschetta which had tomatoes, arugula, burrata, and extra virgin olive oil. The crostini was very difficult to cut through with the knife and clamored many times against the plate. Sage uses market driven ingredients and we could taste it in the tomatoes because it was very fresh and tasty. The burrata was very creamy, but the meat itself was a bit overcooked. I kind of felt the courses were out of order. This light tasting bruschetta should have been served before the more heavy flavors of the enchilada.
Wine: Allegrini, Palazzo della Torre - Veronese, Italy 2005
For dessert, we had a Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake which had raspberry coulis, sweet cream, and an almond florentine on top. This was a good version of a cheesecake - very smooth and creamy. I was happy for the raspberry coulis because it added more flavor to it, and the almond florentine had a nice crisp that added texture to the overall dessert.
Sage on the Coast is a nice getaway from the nearby crowded and noisy restaurants. It's secluded enough for people to enjoy a serene evening right next to the beach (though it could be a different story on the weekends). The food was good, and I like the fact that they use seasonal ingredients. We enjoyed our experience, especially with the $35 tasting menu and an additional $10 for wine pairings. Worth a stop for a reasonably priced dinner, although nothing really too exciting.