Sage: fine dining in the Deep Deuce [closed]

by | August 20, 2009 | 27 Comments

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Sage is located at 228 NE 2nd St in the Deep Deuce area of Bricktown (map). They are open Monday-Thursday from 7am-10pm, Friday-Saturday from 7am-12am and Sunday from 10am-8pm. You can reach them by phone (405.232.7243), or by e-mail. All major credit cards are accepted.

Sage Cafe in Oklahoma City

Isn’t it weird how sometimes you overlook places to visit that are the closest to you?  Having lived in the Deep Deuce for a few years, I’ve only visited the Deep Deuce Bar and Grill just twice, which seems odd. Not only that, but Sage has been open for a few months now and I haven’t been able to push myself to eat there until just recently.   I don’t know if it’s the fact that dining in Bricktown typically costs an arm and a leg or if the view of the wall full of alcohol through the windows made Sage seem more like a bar than a restaurant, but something has kept me away … until now.

The fact that Sage is also a “market” did peek my interest since OKC has a dearth of healthy, organic markets (Whole Foods are you reading this?!).  I put market in quotes because the market section at Sage probably isn’t much bigger than my kitchen.  In spite of its size, they do offer a selection of goods that can’t be found at your normal supermarket or Wal-Mart.  They feature locally grown organic foods, a nice selection of cheeses, gourmet dressings, organic coffee, oils, and even beer.  Speaking with the sous chef, I found out that the owner has plans to expand the market in the future once the other tennant in the building ends their lease, but that’s still a few years in the works (unfortunately).

So, how’s the food?  Well, Greg visited on a separate occasion and had this to say:

“I had the 3-cheese mac and cheese ($9 for lunch and $11 for dinner) and thought it was wonderful. The gorgonzola gave the whole dish a great tang that really differentiated it from “normal” mac and cheese. The dish was very heavy, though, so I could hardly imagine it as an entree. I really thought it worked best when shared. It might be too rich for me to eat all alone.

I also tried the roasted seasonal vegetables ($7.50), which were pretty good. I was less impressed by the eggplant, but the green tomatoes were a revelation. Sweet and tart, warm and crisp. I would get this dish again in a heartbeat. Also great was that it came with a small side of hummus, which was thicker and tastier than some I’ve found locally.

Wrapping up my appetizer meal were the Greek turkey meatballs with tzatziki sauce ($7.50). They were dense, but flavorful, and the sauce really added a nice, fresh burst. The best part was, by sharing with friends, my bill was only $9 — pretty good for a fancy lunch.

Looking around, I saw some giant sandwiches that I am eager to go back and try. The roast beef was piled high and the portobello sandwich was really calling to me as well. Almost any sandwich topping is also available on a salad and the Ahi tuna salad looked pretty appetizing, but I’ll have to go back for a taste before I can pass judgment.”

I have to agree with Greg about the mac and cheese dishes, they’re pretty good.  I had the Grilled Shrimp Pesto version ($10.50 for lunch and $13 for dinner) and was definitely satisfied with the taste.  The accompanying waldorf salad (celery, apples, walnuts, grapes in a light mayo sauce) matched well with the mac and cheese and kind of helped to break up the heavy creamy flavor. I just wish it came with a bit more salad.  If you’ve ever read the menu and wondered why their mac and cheese is called “The Original” it’s apparently because (they believe) Sage is one of the original and only restaurants in OKC to offer gourmet mac and cheese.  I’m interested to see if there are any other readers or restaurants out there who might debunk this claim.

Talking about original offerings, Sage also has a salt bar where you choose from three of their eleven premium salts from around the world for $2.  I honestly don’t know what these different salts will do to change the flavor of my food, but it’s definitely something I’d like to try out another time.

On a subsequent visit during happy hour (everyday from 2-6pm) I was happy to find the $3.50 margaritas and mojitos.  I think everyone needs to try out the mojitos because they come in an awesome mason jar!  Honestly, it’s a nice touch.  I also made a meal of the $3.50 appetizer selections.  The grilled chili lime chicken wings and greek turkey meatballs are definitely enough to share with several people.  If you want to enjoy this happy hour deal, make sure you place all your food orders before the cutoff because the computer will automatically adjust prices at 6pm sharp.

Now, for the bad news. If you’re looking to visit Sage with a large group, be advised — I had a birthday party with a group of 13 and I must say the service was less than stellar.  I reserved our spot a good week ahead of time so I feel the staff had plenty of time to prepare for our party.  To start, those ordering mac and cheese dishes were told that they were out of the accompanying waldorf salad (disappointing news), but then one of my friends got some other person’s dinner and it came with the waldorf salad (aggravating news). In addition, I think our server took everyone’s orders about 3 or 4 times and blamed the ticketing system that was acting funny (this is the second visit on which I’ve encountered issues with the computer system). As a result, we all sat around waiting much longer than we really wanted.

I know big groups are always a challenge, but at a higher-end establishment like Sage, you expect them to be a bit more prepared, especially with advanced notice. My friends were pretty disappointed with the service, but I still think the quality of the food might bring some of them back again.

Overall, Sage offers unique dining, a convenient gourmet market and mini-deli, a pretty nice bar and some pretty good desserts choices. Aside from sub-par service with a large group, I can’t offer much complaint.  I will continue to anticipate the expansion of their market or just hope for a Trader Joes or a Whole Foods to open up.  If you’ve had a good (or bad) experience at Sage, we would like to know your thoughts.  Please leave us a comment below.

Sage Gourmet Cafe & Market on Urbanspoon

This article was posted by Sam Lee on Thursday, August 20th, 2009. It is filed under:

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  • Cult of Nobody says:
    August 21st, 2009 at 6:37 am   

    Was in the Whole Foods in Tulsa a couple of weeks ago and rumor has it that Oklahoma City will be the next location in the Mid-West for them to build a new store.

  • Tiffany says:
    August 21st, 2009 at 7:37 am   

    I go to Sage at least twice a week, my clients love it, and the Sat. brunch in fantastic! I’ve been tired of IHOP for some time and this place is much needed downtown.

  • AML says:
    August 21st, 2009 at 7:41 am   

    Thanks for reviewing Sage…..must try the shrimp and grits (dinner menu only) during your next visit.

  • Jennifer says:
    August 21st, 2009 at 9:03 am   

    I was with Greg on said excursion, and yes our meal was great. But I would go even further. Calling the mac & cheese “the original” may be a stretch because there are places like Iron Starr that have been doing fancy mac & cheese for some time. But, hands down I think this might be the best mac & cheese I have ever had. And I don’t say that lightly. The hummus is great with fresh veggies and great corn chips. The signature salad (especially the dressing) is perfection. This is my new favorite place for lunch

  • Kelly Duke says:
    August 21st, 2009 at 12:57 pm   

    I like the food at Sage but the service I have had the three times I have been during lunch have all been sub-par. I will not return due to the service and this is unfortunate because the food is very good. I have only been during lunch and I have been with small parties around 11-11:30.

  • Dena says:
    August 21st, 2009 at 1:27 pm   

    I have to agree with Jennifer on the fact that they call their Mac & Cheese the original. Iron Starr’s is superb. However, I can’t wait to try it. Maybe for dinner, their lunch seems to be having more problems with service.

  • Anon Reader Dude says:
    August 21st, 2009 at 2:37 pm   

    My food experiences have been a bit mixed at Sage. I do like the mac and cheese (though Iron Starr’s is even better!), and also the shrimp and grits.

    Service has been flaky at times, and the staff can be somewhat uninformed about their own wine list. However, the trend seems to be slowly improving. Service kinks are to be expected at a new restaurant.

    I plan to keep going every so often. I am rooting for Sage. This place has some good dishes, a nice interior, and is in a great, up and coming location downtown.

  • Kevin says:
    August 23rd, 2009 at 1:58 pm   

    This is the second place I’ve read commentary on questionable service levels. Until that aspect gets resolved for them, there are simply too many venues where service isn’t an issue for fancy mac and cheese to draw me in.

  • Buck says:
    August 23rd, 2009 at 7:06 pm   

    Personally – I can almost deal with sub par food than sub par service in a restaurant. It takes very little for waiter/waitress to be engaging; informed and can make ‘not so great food’ better simply by great service. I too want Sage to succeed. But their service must be a priority if they will ever taste success.

  • Bryce says:
    August 24th, 2009 at 10:21 am   

    I am looking forward to trying Sage’s Mac & Cheese. However, about it being the “original” I’m not sure. If you haven’t tried it you need to get the Mac & Cheese at the Deep Fork Grill, it is insanely good (and very rich)! It is expensive for a pasta dish, but definitely worth it. Here is the description from their dinner menu:

    Mac and Cheese
    Truffled asiago cream with smoked tomatoes – 15
    Add pulled rotisserie chicken – 4, add sauteed jumbo shrimp – 8, add lobster – 12

    My mouth is watering right now thinking about it.

  • Kaylee says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 10:51 am   

    I ate at Sage with some coworkers at lunch about 2 or 3 months ago and I was not impressed. I got the mac n cheese and didn’t even hardly touch it. To me it was waaay to much, waaay to rich, and the flavor wasn’t even that interesting. It was $10 or $11 and I did NOT think it was worth it. My coworkers had a slightly more satisfying experience but I don’t think I’ll be going back.

  • Malerie says:
    August 27th, 2009 at 2:40 pm   

    The main reason I chose to dine at sage was for the mac. Along with three friends, we sat outside and shared each of the four kinds offered. The shrimp mac was my favorite. The atmosphere was fun and we enjoyed our drinks but the service nearly ruined our experience. Our waiter was uninformed, not helpful, and not interested.
    I don’t think we will return for dinner, but brunch is fantastic! The oatmeal waffles, sausage, and quality of fruit have been perfect each time we have been there! This is highly recommended!!

  • Snowful says:
    September 3rd, 2009 at 12:23 pm   

    Try the chocolate cake! It’s the best of the desserts I’ve tried so far and it’s big enough for 4 or 5 people to share!

  • danielle says:
    September 14th, 2009 at 7:56 pm   

    Okay, I loved this restaurant. The atmosphere was amazing. I ate several things. The hot wings (which were amazing with the avocado ranch, I licked the bowl clean), fried green tomatoes (also amazing), salad can’t remember which but that was gone too. I also sampled my friends shrimp mac and cheese (yummy!). Afterwards, I proceeded to get a red velvet cupcake and coffee which were great. Cupcake was nice and moist and the coffee which is their own special blend was perfect with a little cream. Obviously, after all that I ate I had to go for a walk in bricktown which was fine with me. A sidenote: the mojitos were perfect. Not too sweet, not too sour. Will be going back many times.

  • Steven says:
    September 15th, 2009 at 1:37 pm   

    I’d say the reviews of this place are spot on with my experiences. I’m a downtowner and I really want this place to succeed, but I wonder if Kevin & Charifa actually read the reviews of their place.

    I’ve had several of the mac & cheeses (what I was looking forward to the most) and they are less than expected. As far as “original” I agree they are not. There are plenty of local places that have gourmet mac longer than Sage has been around. Red Prime is the best IMO, but I have yet to try the one at Deep Fork described above.

    Service has been less than par, the dressings and fried tomatoes were outstanding the first time I went and the second time I went they were horrible. Service was slow and didn’t seem educated on what they were serving, etc.

    I hope the Smith’s get their act together, I really want this place to succeed AND IMPROVE. The Deep Deuce crowd is populated enough the place can probably get by (and has a high enough turnover of residents), however without the owners reading the constant mediocre reviews of the place, I don’t see them improving. Wishes for the best!

  • Sam says:
    September 15th, 2009 at 5:28 pm   

    thanks for your insight Steven! I totally agree with you.

  • Alexis says:
    September 16th, 2009 at 9:23 am   

    I have been twice and the service was lacking both times. There are just so many other options that are so much better. That being said I did like the salt bar, a unique concept that I enjoyed tasting.

  • Kacy says:
    November 13th, 2009 at 2:58 pm   

    I live in Deep Deuce and visit Sage frequently. The staff has gotten to know me so I tend to get great service, but the first few time I went there it was iffy. The drinks are definitely great and I love that they have Coop on tap. I recently had the caesar salad and loved it, and I’m very picky about salads. The Greek mac ‘n cheese is my fave entree. Their salsa is really fresh and amazing.

  • Carrie says:
    November 23rd, 2009 at 10:43 pm   

    I’ve been to Sage a few times since October, and from the sound of it I think that they are beginning to get their act together. The main guy that I always see in there (forgive me for not knowing his name) has always been very helpful and knows just when to come around, but seems that there is just him and one other waitress 80% of the time. I haven’t had any problems with the service, except that it feels like they’re short handed and maybe a little scattered. I don’t mind though, because I like being able to enjoy my food and conversation without being interrupted. I guess maybe I’m seeing it as having a bit more laid back atmosphere than everyone else is expecting. That being said, I love the food and the Happy Hour specials make it even better. I’ve tried each of the Mac’s and loved them all, though they are best shared or taken home as tomorrow’s lunch. I will most definitely have to try Iron Star’s Mac soon as well.

  • Lucy says:
    January 15th, 2010 at 1:59 pm   

    I go to Sage frequently and I really enjoy the food and the atmosphere. The title of this article is a little misleading I think, because Sage doesn’t seem to be trying to be “fine dining.” I would probably categorize them as “upscale casual.” Service is fairly casual but still attentive. I have never experienced “bad” service there but then again I don’t expect a server to kiss my feet or “entertain” me. Also, I don’t know if they have “the original” mac and cheese but I know it’s delicious! My favorite is the Greek mac with feta… yumm! I also recently went to an event in the space next door to the restaurant (the owners) are renting it out as event space) and it was a lot of fun.

  • Griffin Brown says:
    March 19th, 2010 at 1:41 pm   

    The first time that I ate at Sage, I loved it. I honestly thought that I would end up being a regular here. The second time that I ate there, I decided to never go back.

    My fiance and I ordered a Greek burger with a tossed salad as our side. We ate a few bites of the burger and it was PHENOMENAL! I ate a few bites of the tossed salad and then noticed something gross. There were 2 clumps of dirt (about 1 centimeter across), a twig, and a live bug. It was obvious that the lettuce had not been washed. It seemed completely inappropriate that according to the CDC more outbreaks of Salmonella are caused by unclean lettuce every year than chicken products.

    The disgusting salad (which was unfortunately the same lettuce as on my burger) ruined our lunch. The way the manger treated us afterward ruined Sage for us.

    The manager came to us and told us that because they use organic lettuce, it is harder to clean. She actually came across as a snob and made us feel like we had done something wrong. I told her that it was inexcusable to have clumps of dirt, twigs, and live bugs. She told us that she would comp our meal because of the misunderstanding.

    So, we got a free meal that we barely started (because neither of us had the stomach to touch after seeing the live bug in it). We were almost lectured on the virtues of organic farming, when it was Sage’s fault for not cleaning the lettuce. And now, we have a gift card that we were going to use and we’re going to throw it away.

    It’s so sad because I thought it was a great addition to the OKC restaurant scene. Unfortunately, I’ll never go back there again.

  • Wimpy says:
    March 22nd, 2010 at 8:53 pm   

    Tried this place for lunch today, they were out of several items we tried to order, seemed impatient for us to order something, so I had the Tuna sandwich,with Waldorf salad it was ok, but nothing special, my wife had Turkey sand. sort of plain ( out of avocado ) just not enough going for this place for a return trip, also not a good value as it is over-priced for average, ordinary,lunch fare !

  • sarah says:
    April 10th, 2010 at 3:10 pm   

    had brunch here today – the turkey sausage and havarti fritata with breakfast potatoes. the potatoes were yummy – almost caramelized with red peppers and onions. fritata was chock full of yummy veggies. both could have used a little salt, which the waiter offered, but i refused since trying to cut back anyway. service is fine, but food always seems slow coming out of the kitchen. i’ve been several times this past year, and this is always the case, but it won’t keep me from going back.

  • Debbie says:
    August 22nd, 2010 at 6:16 pm   

    My office is in Bricktown so I have been to Sage for lunch frequently. I haven’t had any service problems. Since I go to lunch alone, I usually just sit at the bar and get great service. I love their Scallop, spinich & pear salad & if that’s all I am eating, I will splurge and get their lemon poppyseed cupcake when it is available – very good! When my time is short, I call in my order in advance even though I plan to eat there – the kitchen can be a little slow.l When I have done that, it works great. I only got the shrimp mac & cheese once but I had seen how large the serving size was so I asked for a to-go container when I ordered and immediately put 1/2 in the box and made another meal out of it. I frequently enjoy their specials that are not on the menu – veggie shrimp scampi over wild rice, veggie pizza on flat bread, full-size crabcake sandwich, and a chicken panini come to mind. I do enjoy being able to get fresh fruit as a side order for sandwiches. Sometimes the lunch special is just a discount price on something that is on their regular menu. That’s good too since I think their prices are a little high and they don’t participate in any of the discount cards like the OKCityCard or KeepItLocalOK.

  • Barry says:
    December 1st, 2010 at 10:19 am   

    I did NOT like Sage — mainly because several of the dishes were smothered in garlic POWDER, one of the worst cooking ingredients ever made. The hummus was the absolute worst I’ve ever had as it, too, reeked of garlic powder. The macaroni and cheese did, too. I was pretty suprised because it seems like they could easily just use fresh garlic. The turkey meatballs were also overspiced with oregano and salt. The service was o.k., but I didn’t appreciate the comment card handed to us at the end that was already filled out in pen with “Excellent” all-around. What’s that about? Geez.

  • MG says:
    February 18th, 2011 at 9:49 am   

    I’ve been to Sage 3 times over the past 7+ months – not by my choosing. Nothing about it has changed.

    The service is still poor and slow; the food is completely bland (yes, even the mac n cheese) and making reservations is a joke. I do hope it succeeds but it’s going to take a lot of improvement to get me back there again.

  • Debbie says:
    February 18th, 2011 at 10:43 am   

    Update to my Aug 2010 review. I had a late lunch at Sage yesterday. I called in advance and ordered the scallop, spinich & pear salad and it was ready when I walked in the door. I sat down and enjoyed the wonderful flavors in this salad (also has the candied walnut & gorgonzola cheese) – the spinich was very fresh and the strawberry vinaigrette was great. I also had a flavored green tea that was good. I do think they are a bit over-priced but I do enjoy the food.

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