October 9, 2014 – Dinner at Sage, Aria, City Center, Las Vegas

Jon, John, and I make a reservation at Sage, a restaurant at Aria in City Center, Las Vegas. We do this by a complex series of eliminations. Sage has made the short list once before and we decide to indulge ourselves with the shorter of the two tasting menus. Really, it’s a bargain at $89. Before I get into the dishes we eat, I’d like to say that this is one of the best dinners ever from a savory food viewpoint. The parts that are disappointing are the service which is very off-hand and not gracious for a fine dining restaurant and the desserts which are not good. My dessert is basically inedible but I don’t really care because I am not a dessert person. The rest of the dinner is really, really good and more than makes up for the bad desserts.

So the food –

First we get the fancy butter plate
First we get the fancy butter plate

This followed by the roll guy who comes around offering different breads
This followed by the roll guy who comes around offering different breads

Then there's the amuse bouche which is pork pate with citrus and caviar (it is merely okay since the pork has an offputting texture
Then there’s the amuse bouche which is pork pate with citrus and caviar (it is merely okay since the pork has an offputting texture
I think I order best. This dish is the star of the show it is a Foie Gras Custard Brulee, with Apricot Chutney/Toasted Cocoa Nibs/Salted Brioche. It is fabulous.
I think I order best. This dish is the star of the show it is a Foie Gras Custard Brulee, with Apricot Chutney/Toasted Cocoa Nibs/Salted Brioche. It is fabulous.
John has Vancouver Island Kushi Oysters with piquillo pepper and tabasco sorbet and aged tequila mignonette
John has Vancouver Island Kushi Oysters with piquillo pepper and tabasco sorbet and aged tequila mignonette
Jonathan rounds out our first courses with Wagyu beef tartare with crushed caper aioli, slow poached eggs and crispy chocolate
Jonathan rounds out our first courses with Wagyu beef tartare with crushed caper aioli, slow poached eggs and crispy chocolate

Of all the starters mine is best by far it is all I can do to let anyone even have a taste.
For the second course Jonathan and I have scallops with braised oxtail, wild mushrooms and salted caramel reduction
For the second course Jonathan and I have scallops with braised oxtail, wild mushrooms and salted caramel reduction

John has grilled octopus with garlic puree and beech mushrooms, chorizo and bell peppers. He thinks it is cosmic.
John has grilled octopus with garlic puree and beech mushrooms, chorizo and bell peppers. He thinks it is cosmic.

John and I both have the 48 hour beef belly with root vegetable puree, pickled sweet onions and buckwheat polenta. It is melt-in-your-mouth-delicious.
John and I both have the 48 hour beef belly with root vegetable puree, pickled sweet onions and buckwheat polenta. It is melt-in-your-mouth-delicious.

For his third course Jonathan has a flat iron steak with foie gras roasted chanterelles, creamy potatoes and a red wine bernaise sauce. It is good but not as good as the 48 hour beef belly.
For his third course Jonathan has a flat iron steak with foie gras roasted chanterelles, creamy potatoes and a red wine bernaise sauce. It is good but not as good as the 48 hour beef belly.

Now dinner comes to a grinding halt. We wait and wait but dessert does not appear. They offer us more wine. Still we wait. Finally a course that is definitely not worth the wait.
Milk chocolate and earl grey panna cotta with madeleines  and blackberry scalded milk gelato. Both John and Jon say this is meh.
Milk chocolate and earl grey panna cotta with madeleines and blackberry scalded milk gelato. Both John and Jon say this is meh.
My dessert is a ricotta cheesecake with smoke graham crumbs, white chocolate pearls and blueberry basil gel.  This is a really odd dessert. It is salty and not sweet. The texture is off. I cannot eat it.
My dessert is a ricotta cheesecake with smoke graham crumbs, white chocolate pearls and blueberry basil gel. This is a really odd dessert. It is salty and not sweet. The texture is off. I cannot eat it.

Would I recommend this restaurant? Yes, yes, yes. The savory courses are great and if you don’t really care about dessert it is well worth the tasting menu price. If I were to go back, I would probably just order the foie gras brulee and the 48 hour beef belly and call it a night.

It is really a great night for the three of us. In the morning we take Jonathan to the airport and he flies off to North Carolina for SoJam. John and I make our way back to St. George for another week before we leave for home.

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