Bejeweled with the deep sexy flavors of black truffles, the tartare of crisply sweet scallops was so sighingly good that the only way I can think of improving those moments of delectation is to savour it slowly across the table from the lovely Monica Bellucci, the raven-haired beauty who embodied Italy in Giuseppe Tornatore's Malena. (As I write this, I realize that a nice glass of dry white wine or a champagne might also as serve to improve the experience, but it's a distant second as far as I'm concerned.)
The second in the scallop trio appetizer is fried in a golden nest of shredded dough, a crispy blonde counterpoint to the tartare; its lovely paired with the celery puree.
Scallop number three (and four) were dressed with a stalky emerald seaweed and cloaked with (I think) a balsamic and brown butter sauce, full of savory nutty flavors that pressed gently but irresistibly against the palate.
Even at the beginning, expectations were raised by many raves here, and heightened further when a simple puree of tomatoes, sweet onions, parsley and olive oil appeared with the bread. The puree is full of bright summery expressions, a concentrated but not intense rendition of tomato, more cherry sweet than plummy. It's a mystery how something like this could taste so good, especially at this time of year. Even with such a tough act to follow, the scallop appetizer acquitted itself beautifully.
The baby spinach salad is also impeccable, borrowing a smoky aroma from perfectly spaced notes of pancetta bits, along with a cool sensation of paper thin radicchio slices. On the other side of the plate, lobster, pumpkin and chard performed admirably even though they were slightly suffocated by too much of the delicate flaky pastry roll.
Pheasant makes a slightly dramatic entry, served on a polished oval metal pan. It's stuffed with sausage, striking a few wild flavors that are just delicious despite the slight sinewy stuffing. A date sauce with a mild, mellow sweetness was brilliant in this context, and nicely sopped up by a line of chard leaves.
But the best part of this entree (and entirely on par with scallops) is the chestnut polenta, so smooth and honest with chestnut that I wanted to squeal happily.
Pear sorbet was pure perfumy pear. The waitress gladly accepted my request for a single scoop even though they normally serve sorbet trios as a full dessert. One of the many indications of gracious hospitality.
Last, a made to order apple strudel with a fine crust of exquisite pastry over a hot layer of soft apples, raisins along with the requisite touch of spices. Deep comforts in the first few moments of hot and cold with vanilla ice cream.
Sage is small, but it's blessed with profound flavors in rich, sensual combinations. There is such brilliant cookery emanating from their shiny white kitchen that I'm still awash in the afterglow of the meal. But of course there's still room for improvement. Ms. Monica Bellucci, if you're reading this, I'd love nothing more than the pleasure of your company at Sage.