Monday, January 19, 2015

Review of Sages Restaurant

The KMN dinner club, an assortment of six friends who go out to dinner once a month, dined at Sages Restaurant, in Redmond, Washington on Saturday night, 1/17/15. The restaurant makes reservations only for parties more numerous than five. We were glad to have reservations as it was crowded in the entry and we were seated promptly avoiding the wait.

The menu which is on-line offers a generous selection of different dishes. I saw several items of interest, but after imagining the available tastes, I decided not to order an entree but to start with a bowl of clam chowder followed by their ravioli dish. The restaurant was offering a lobster ravioli as a special, but I ordered off the menu and chose a pear and Gorgonzola ravioli topped with candied walnuts because: candied walnuts.

You would be right to question my judgment in ordering two dishes prepared in a cream sauce. And while I admit that it could have ended badly, luck was with me and it all ended well.

The chowder was prepared with a white broth which was only slightly thickened. Rather than the salty sauce as thick as pancake batter which is all too often confronts a diner, the chowder at Sages was on the light side with a slight flavor of clam juice and fresh herbs. The chowder was loaded with tender clams. The complimentary ciabatta bread was rustic with a hearty crust and went well with both the soup and the pasta.

The ravioli was perfect. The pasta was substantial but had lost its chewiness. It was tender without losing consistency. The flavor carried a touch of sweetness which was balanced by the bite of the Gorgonzola. The sauce, in contrast to the soup, was rich and creamy. Every bite was delicious. And did I mention the candied walnuts. My wife ordered the cioppino. I had a sip of her broth and it was rich without overpowering the seafood.

Chef Bart, the owner waited on our table. He is a charming host. One of our party needed clarification about the preparation of a menu item and he knew both ingredients and the way it was prepared. He also helped us select a bottle of Italian Pinot Gris for the table. Those who had a glass were pleased.

When we get together, we like to talk. We are older and a couple of us wear hearing aids. Noise levels and acoustics can be a problem. There are about twenty tables at Sages. The majority of tables are arranged in one large room. We may have been one of the louder tables, as most guests were seated as couples.  We had no problem hearing each other, in part because there was no background music. Music has a tendency to ratchet up the decibels and raise their voices to be heard.

We were not prepared to leave before a little sweet. Other's at our table ordered a walnut cake and a brownie a la mode and were very happy with their dessert. I went with a scoop of their coconut and chocolate swirl ice cream with a little decaf and found it a refreshing finish to a wonderful meal.

The price of the main dishes ranged between $15.00 and $25.00 which, given the meals, was reasonable. When the table check came there was an added gratuity of 18%.  I get stubborn about added gratuity and do not increase the stated amount.  On the other had, we have had checks where it was difficult to determine whether a gratuity was added.  Chef Bart took the time to make a personal note on each of three credit card invoices that the total included a gratuity.  I appreciate the fact that he took the extra effort to make the bill clear to us.

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