Two factors have kept me away from Sage Bistro in Guilderland. The first is the memories of the location when it was Aromi di Italia; aside from gelato, I enjoyed very little about Aromi di Italia. It was poor. Of course, it’s irrational to hold this against new management, and that brings me to the second factor that kept me away: the name. I’ve ranted on and on about how I almost never feel like the designation of “bistro” fits the experience at restaurants, and that it’s a meaningless, trendy name, now.
I finally decided to put aside my reservations and stop in for an early dinner on a Friday evening. We arrived at about 6PM and were among about a handful of tables. By the time we left at 7PM, the number of occupied tables had doubled.
Our extremely attentive waitstaff brought us some complimentary warm pita and hummus.
While we looked over the menu, we talked about what we were going to order. The main dish menu might seem extensive, but if you break it down, you’re getting different types of proteins with either pasta, jasmine rice, or potato. The starter menu has a number of Mediterranean specialties that were actually surprising to see on the menu.
I was going to get the sampler, but we had already tried the hummus, so I ordered the Mediterranean Feta Salad (feta cheese, vine ripened tomatoes, kalamata olives, scallions & a hint of crushed red pepper drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and served with warm pita – $7).
The feta salad was very good. Feta is a very salty cheese, and this was predominantly feta cheese. I loved that I was able to taste every component listed in the description, and really well too. The portion was hefty and could easily be enjoyed by two or three people.
The main course I ordered came with a complimentary salad.
I didn’t have a whole lot to say about the salad. I ordered their blue cheese dressing, which automatically came on the side. The dressing was rich and tasty.
They brought out the heavy artillery…
…because, for my main, I ordered the sirloin steak (Grilled coulette steak and portobello mushroom with a merlot-veal demi glace and potato du jour with fresh vegetable – $20). The potato du jour was mashed potatoes; the fresh vegetable was grilled asparagus.
I ordered the steak medium rare, so I cut across the center to check that it arrived at the right temperature…
…and I was pleased.
The steak itself was not seasoned enough while cooking. Neither were the potatoes. The asparagus were seasoned nicely, and the sauce, which included the mushrooms, was way over seasoned. It’s something that’s easy to do when making demi glace; that doesn’t make it acceptable when charging for it. However, I was able to find just the right amount of demi glace to add to each bite of steak and potato to balance the seasoning. It was actually quite good, and worth the $20.
We mulled over the idea of getting dessert. As you walk into the restaurant, the gelato case is captavating, and so is the extensive list of bought in gelato that they offer.
I wanted to try two flavors that were diametrically opposed and eat one at a time, so I ordered cardamom (my favorite spice for infusion in desserts) and chocolate hazelnut.
The chocolate hazelnut variety was fine. There were decent sized ice crystals in mine and larger crystals in Cassie’s. The flavor of the chocolate hazelnut was strong on the chocolate and weak on the hazelnut. The texture was very much like a normal ice cream; it was just not as rich as gelato usually is.
The cardamom gelato was very nice. It was lightly sweetened, and that allowed the cardamom to shine. I would go back to enjoy a small cup of cardamom gelato any day!
On the way out, I noticed their comment book was open to a comment that I really got a kick out of.
I wouldn’t say “Awsome” (sic) or amazing are accurate adjectives to describe the place, but I think it was very good and definitely worth the occasional visit.