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Sage and Onion - Santa Barbara

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Sage and Onion - Santa Barbara

MunkeeCiao | Jan 9, 2005 03:14 PM

After wanting to try Sage and Onion for a long time, my girlfriend took me there for my birthday dinner last night.
We had an 8:30 reservation and arrived right on time. As we walked in the door, the busboys were stuffing their faces with something right in the entry way, and after quickly realizing there were guests to be seated, they quickly turned their heads away from us and (apparently) either spit their food out or swallowed it whole, whipping their smiling heads back around fast enough to greet us as if we never saw what we just saw.
As we were being escorted to our table, it was apparent we did not need a reservation. There were only about 4 tables in use. I blamed in on the rainy weather. After all, this place came highly recommended. We were then kindly seated in a cozy corner by the window. It was a nice table except for the music. It sounded like they were tuning in a radio station from Mars being played on a rusty blown-out 20 year old outdoor patio speaker mounted directly above our heads. Very hard to ignore!
With two glasses of Piper bubbles in hand and our 98 Clos Pegase Hommage Cabernet decanting, (we brought the wine and paid the whopping $20 corkage fee) we started with the bacon wrapped scallop served over whipped celery root, and the fois gras. I loved the scallop appetizer but the fois gras was the greasiest and tasteless we had ever had. We sent it back and ordered the coconut milk and shrimp soup as a replacement. That arrived very quickly, sans any means of eating it (soup spoon or knife to cut the shrimp). I had to get up and find someone to fetch this for us, something I always enjoy doing in nice restaurants.
The sage and onion infused olive oil served with olive loaf bread was delicious.
For the main courses we both ordered the filet of beef. Medium-rare was more like medium. Not what I would expect for a $30 entrée. I actually enjoyed the beef with the mushroom reduction covered in melted Roquefort, but my girlfriend found the sauce to be too salty and overpowering, leaving her wondering what the steak actually tasted like. I guess I like sauces like that.
For dessert we got the chocolate soufflé with some sort of gewy liquid insides, a la mode, delivered with a birthday candle. This was delicious and I am pretty sure we ate the whole thing.
We were told by a few people to be sure to order the coffee. It comes in some sort of personal French press or something like that. We were informed that they discontinued this some time ago. Instead, we ordered a cappuccino and double espresso to accompany the dessert. The double espresso was delivered so full it was spilling over onto the saucer and the spoon had milk foam all over it from the cappuccino it was being delivered with. Very messy with no attention to detail and practically thrown on the table. We asked for another and they quickly brought one as a replacement.
All in all, I thought it was an OK meal. I would probably go back as I believe you should always try every place at least twice before passing final judgment. I think the attention to detail needs some, well, attention to detail. It felt like the cat was away and the mice were at play. This place has so much opportunity to be a great Santa Barbara restaurant if they simply polished the details. Charging high prices in a great location does not make a great restaurant.
Is this consistent with anyone else’s impression of Sage and Onion or did I catch them on a bad night?

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