Let me start by saying that I was very excited that Sage moved to the South End. I had always intended on visiting the North End location but never made it there. Now, Sage was coming to my neighborhood.
3 of us stopped by for dinner on a weekday evening earlier this week. We did not have a reservation so we asked the hostess if it would be possible to get a table. She was very accommodating and told us that a table in the cafe should be free in about 20 minutes and we could have it. We decided to wait at the bar while the party at the table finished their wine and left. Shortly afterwards, just as we thought we would be seated, another hostess comes by and tells us that the table is not ours; it was marked for another party that was also waiting at the bar. Fine. Our original hostess was polite enough to stop by and apologize for the confusion and told us that her colleague had not bothered to let the others know that she had promised the table to someone else. Again, fine. These things happen. We sat at the bar and enjoyed another round of cocktails (love the Ginger Rogers!).
One hour later, we were finally seated. Since we had arrived without a reservation during RW, we tried to be understanding about the wait - 3 times longer than what they had initially told us. But, we were still excited to dive into the menu. Now, here is where things go downhill...we had reviewed the menu posted by the door and were surprised and disappointed to see that the menu inside was almost unrecognizable! Very little in common with the menu posted outside. The dishes that I had been so excited to try on both the RW menu and the regular menu were not available. This, to me, feels like bait and switch. And, to make it worse, nothing on the menu inside was remotely appealing. While the menu outside was enticing, the menu inside was boring. Same old pasta and meat dishes seen at any number of other restaurants. Where was the imaginative, original Sage that I had been looking forward to?!?
Here's what we ordered:
2 ordered from the RW menu: both had the shrimp cake app (okay but not exceptional); one had canneloni entree and the other had the steak. The canneloni appeared at the table in such a sorry state. 2 limp tubes filled with what looked like mystery meat. Presentation was also awful - empty looking plate with a tiny portion of beige-y food. Blah. The steak, according to my friend, was also fine (but not exceptional).
I ordered from the regular menu - the orecchiette with marscapone and bread crumbs. In other words, gussied-up mac and cheese. Now, don't get me wrong, I think a twist on classic mac and cheese can be fantastic but this was terrible. The pasta was gummy, the sauce was bland and the dish was served barely warm so everything seemed to have congealed.
My displeasure must have been evident since I barely touched my dish. The waitress did try to compensate by bringing a free dessert for the table (in addition to the 2 desserts that accompanied the RW orders). Dessert was also okay but nothing special. I was served the chocolate and nut cake with whip cream. The cake was very dry and almost like cardboard.
All in all, it felt as though the kitchen and staff were going through the motions. There was no imagination or joy in the food. And, you all know what I am referring to. There is a marked difference between a restaurant that seems to care and one that is coasting on its name but not really trying. Very sadly, on this evening, that was the Sage experience for our party.
Before I bore you all with my long review (if I haven't already), here are a couple of other issues:
- the hostess should have offered us a free round of drinks at the bar when they messed up our wait and seating order. It was poor communication between the staff that lead to a much longer wait.
- the clueless hostess that I mentioned before (the one that did not communicate well with her colleagues) suffers from personal hygiene issues. I happened to use the ladies room at the same time as she - well, she used the restroom and then left WITHOUT WASHING HER HANDS!!! That is disgusting. No, she does not handle food but still...
The conclusion for our party was that this was a disappointing meal and did not live up to the promise of past reviews (from CH and elsewhere). We will not be returning nor will any of us recommend Sage to others.
Now, we also went to Union in the same week and what a dramatically different experience...more on that in another review.
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