The Sage goes from fancy to informal | AspenTimes.com

The Sage goes from fancy to informal

Eben Harrell

Cherries add a tinge of sweetness to the half roasted duckling at The Sage Restaurant in Snowmass Village. Aspen Times photo/Paul Conrad.

The Sage Restaurant at the Snowmass Club is nestled in the shadow of Mount Daly, the setting is postcard perfect, a resort restaurant in all its splendor.

Sage is part of the semi-private Snowmass Club, an Aspen Skiing Co.-owned complex comprised of three different residential areas: an athletic club, tennis courts, and recently opened golf course. At Sage you’ll find everything you’d expect of a Mountain resort restaurant” a slim and attractive clientele, a cozy cabin feel and friendly staff.

The Sage has undergone a “concept change.” Previously fancy, pricey and formal, the restaurant has undertaken a transformation to the casual. Gone are the table clothes and fancy settings; in their place wooden tops and roll-ups. Continental artwork has been replaced by local portraits, and lanterns and skis adorn the walls. There’s a large balcony overlooking the club pool and a wide-screen T.V. within earshot (if not within sight) of the main hall.

There is still an elaborate entree menu available after 6 p.m., but dinner goers should be prepared to be seated next to still-sweaty swingers fresh from the courts or skiers hot off the slopes. The bar menu and dinner menu have been combined and both can be ordered from either the bar and or the main hall.

Dinner guests may indeed choose to dip into the bar menu. The salads are crisp and well-adorned and the pizzas are good but simple. Among the sandwiches, the burger is tender and served with a wide-variety of side orders, including an eclectic and fresh bowl of fruit. The grilled ahi tuna sandwich, served with a delicious herb mayonnaise, is a pleasingly large piece of fish. It’s prepared very rare, so ask if you’re not feeling pretty in pink.

Among the appetizers, the Thai lettuce wraps, a spicy medly of shrimp, chicken, peanuts, coconut, and ginger served with large pieces of iceberg lettuce and a chili dipping sauce is the most interesting and fun to share. Those ordering delicate main courses, such as fish, might want to stay away, however; the dish is spicy enough to leave the taste buds dulled.

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The “Sage Signature Entrees” are available after 6 p.m. None of the dishes are world-class, but they aren’t bad either. The lamb shank, which resembles a cave-man drumstick, is deceptively delicate in its flavoring, especially with a tasty complimentary side of seasoned cous cous and baby carrots. The grilled wild salmon is decidedly disappointing, obliterated by pepper and garlic seasoning.

Among the evening options, the fly away winner is the half roasted duckling. It is elegantly presented and tenderly prepared, with a simple but flavorful accompaniment of green beans and roasted potatoes. A scattering of bing cherries add an enticing tinge of sweetness to the dish.

The cherries will take you to the dessert options, which are not to be missed. For those in desperate need of an insulin spike, the brownie served with peanut butter ice cream and hot fudge is like some sort of wild childhood concoction, with peanut butter heaped upon fudge heaped upon chocolate. Those looking for something lighter might try the sorbet or strawberry shortcake with a refreshing mint syrup. A good compromise is the chocolate-caramel pot de creme, a smooth but satisfying mouse that melts on the tongue.

Sage is relatively inexpensive, with entrees running from $20-$25, and sandwiches half as much. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for, which at Sage is good food, warm service, and a pleasant, casual setting.

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