R and I just had a fabulous dinner at Sage for his birthweek celebration. We really enjoyed this restaurant when it was in the North End, but hadn't been since they move to their new South End location till tonight. The new space is many times larger than the old; you don't need to go through the kitchen to get to the bathroom anymore. The decor is upscale generic (there is one wall with weird photo prints that look that they came from IKEA) and our server was less than friendly.
Oh, but who cares about the decor and the surly waitress when there is the food to talk about? The bread is a focaccia that comes out warm. The weird thing is that they serve it with a creamy tomato salsa-like condiment, no olive oil or butter in sight. We started with a pasta sampler; it's not on the menu, but the chef will do a tasting of each of the 3 pastas that are listed in the main entrees. Tonight it was gnocchi with lobster and asparagus, fettuccine with wild mushrooms, snow peas and truffle butter, and a chestnut ravioli. The gnocchi was perfection, as usual. It was light and airy and so flavorful. I think I actually closed my eyes while eating it. The fettuccine was delicious, earthy with the mushrooms and truffle butter. I thought the chestnut ravioli was good, but not as good as the other two. R preferred the ravioli over the fettuccine, so, to each his own.
For entrees, I had the rice smoked duck breast, and R had roasted venison loin. My duck was outstanding (I know I closed my eyes with enjoyment as I chewed). The duck was tender and perfumed with the rice smoke. The skin was crispy and it matched perfectly with the sauteed spinach that came with it. I can not say enough about how sensational this duck was. I'm going to dream about it tonight. The venison was good; it was cooked perfectly and it was served with stewed plums that created a nice sweet and savory combination. However, it paled in comparison to the duck.
R had a chocolate panettone bread pudding for dessert. I thought it was good, but not note worthy. It was served with a vanilla bourbon raisin ice cream that was quite tasty. I didn't feel like a sweet, so I had a cheese course for dessert. I picked out 3 cheeses: a semi soft cow's milk, a firm aged sheep's milk and an aged Gouda. It was presented with plum preserves, orange confit and honey. It was a terrific ending to a wonderful dinner.
Go to Sage, ignore the artwork, order the gnocchi and the duck, you won't regret it.