Vegas Values: Sage Delivers

Restaurant week has drawn to a close, I anticipate that the week was a success and Three Square food bank raised a good sum to feed Southern Nevada’s hungry. I know I did my part by enjoying seven meals in seven days. During this gluttonous week we had excellent meals at Michael Mina, Circo and Sage. The biggest stunner of the three was Sage inside Aria at CityCenter. The restaurant opened late last year, and in all honesty it didn’t strike me as a place I had to dine, unlike Julian Serrano and American Fish which I was quick to experience. Then, Restaurant Week rolled around and Sage offered a menu that piqued my interest, I knew this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try. Little did I know Sage would woo me the way it did. It might just be one of Aria’s finest offerings.

Sage's swank dining room
photo courtesy of MGM Resorts International

Shawn McClain, executive chef at Sage might be new to the Las Vegas dining scene, but he’s earned his chops in Chicago with three successful restaurant endeavors, Spring, Green Zebra and Custom House. During his tenure he earned a number of accolades including Esquire magazine’s Chef of the Year as well as the Best Chef Midwest award from the James Beard Foundation. He parted ways with Custom House to bring Sage to Las Vegas. Where he shifted focus toward a New American menu built on fine, fresh and sustainable ingredients from California. He weaves these bright flavors with Mediterranean elegance. Chef Richard Camarota assists to create beautifully presented well balanced dishes.

The quaint bar opens to a cavernous swank dining room; fine touches and indigo lighting produce an intimate and lush feel. It’s quite comfortable. There are a few different menus presented at Sage. You can go all out and indulge in an eight-course chef’s tasting ($120), sample the Signature Tasting Menu ($79) paired with wines or beer (for an additional $35), or enjoy dishes a la carte. Additionally, there is an Early Evening Market Menu served 5:00pm-6:30pm. This menu offers three-courses for $48, which is slightly more wallet-friendly than the $50.10 Restaurant Week menu we thoroughly enjoyed.

The Restaurant Week menu allowed us to sample three-courses, between my husband and I, we sampled all the dishes offered. We started the meal with an amuse bouche with artichoke and prosciutto; it was a divine savory bite. Next, we noshed on baguettes and bacon rolls that were delivered warm to our table. The bread was served with Australian sea salt and house-whipped butter. Then, we began with our first-course – Grilled Summer Peach Salad and Smoked Sweet Corn Chowder. The salad was perfectly dressed and poised with sweetness and acidity. The crispy bacon added saltiness while blue cheese gave bite. The chowder had rich flavor and the sweetness of the crab and corn were harmonious; ricotta dumplings added texture creating a wonderfully composed dish. Pan-Roasted Halibut and American Wagyu Sirloin were served for the main-course. Both proteins were brilliantly seared, the crust was crisp and the sear locked in the natural flavors and kept the meats moist. Simply, delicious. The halibut’s side of butter beans and mustard greens were well executed. The potatoes that accompanied the sirloin was the weakest link of the meal, they seemed a bit under-seasoned despite swimming in an au jus bath. The red onion tart, however, was fantastic. Somehow, we saved room for our playful dessert of S’mores. I didn’t even miss the campfire because I was swooning over the gooey marshmallow, Valhrona chocolate, gingerbread graham cracker and pine nut ice cream. Yes, it was a tasty as you think. It was a nice end to our meal at Sage, until next time that is. Between the clean complex flavors and stellar service we’ll be lured back in no time.

It’s also worth a mention that Sage pays special attention to libations, in addition to wine list with some surprisingly reasonable prices there are a number of draught beers and specialty cocktails. Furthermore, they offer an Absinthe menu. That’s one thing I haven’t encountered often in my dinner excursions. We didn’t imbibe, but the table beside us seemed to really enjoy the varied selection.

If it wasn’t for Restaurant Week, I might not have discovered this gem. I’m thrilled that so many restaurants team up with Three Square for this great cause. I’m already looking forward to what I will uncover next year.

Sage is open for dinner 5:00pm-11:00pm; Closed Sundays.