Food and Food: Edmonton11 May 2009 08:09 am

Sage is an Edmonton restaurant I’m very fond of. While some people find the fact it is in a casino it off-putting, I love that it is where it is. No wonder, given how much I enjoy Las Vegas!

The River Cree was actually designed by a Las Vegas-based design group, so the layout is a bit different from the other casinos in town. It’s circular, with the various restaurants and rooms spinning off like spokes on a wheel. There is a natural mountain-y wood & stone decorating theme throughout the casino that spills over into Sage.

People on Chowhound are concerned with the casino being a distraction or irritating, but I do not feel it is. Sure, you could notice the casino action if you really paid attention, but the restaurant is insulated against it and, thankfully, also protected against the smoke that permeates areas of the casino floor.

After dining here three times, I can officially say Sage is one of my favourite restaurants in town and hope it is here to stay. Mike and I visited to celebrate my freedom from school, and with the knowledge that Chef David Cruz recently made some menu changes. He has been introducing some dishes with Asian influence, and bringing in a prix fixe menu. At $45, it’s a great deal for three courses that appear to change regularly.

There are some other bargains to be had, such as Thursday night’s 50% off steak option (sorry, does not include the $60 Kobe-style ribeye) or the $18.88 Lobster Sundays.

Hendricks martini

I had a cucumber infused Hendrick’s gin  martini.

Sage Oyster Platter

Oyster platter for $18. Village Bay and Malpeque varieties. The Malpeques were meaty and succulent, but the Village Bay oysters were the stars. Sweet, lots of liquor and a bit chewy. Later, I saw a woman eating an entire platter herself, and it’s no wonder; these were good.

sagelamb

For a main, I had the rack of lamb with black beluga lentils. The lentils were nutty, and very crisp. I couldn’t get enough, and will try to find some on my next trip to the States or to one of the Indian grocers on 34 Avenue.

The glass plate I found…80s inspired. It was also different from Mike’s plain white dish, below:

Sage kobe rib-eye

This is Mike’s Kobe ribeye. On all three visits, this is the dish he has ordered, even after mulling other dishes over. This buttery, tender steak is decadent and delicious, so I’m not surprised it is his old standby.

I could be wrong, but this is the only restaurant in Edmonton I know of that serves a Kobe (style) steak regularly. Other places, such as the Century Hospitality Group restaurants: Lux, delux burger bar, Century Grill & Hundred, serve dishes made with ground Kobe (burgers, meatballs) as do Ruth’s Chris and Bistecca’s wine bar.

We ordered two side dishes. There are some new “small plate” features as starters, but it was too much with the oysters. Next visit!

sagefries

sagebeans

We ordered two sides, a “raft” of truffled french fries and a new item, Szechuan green beans. Although the fries are steak-cut, they were still crispy, and not soggy or greasy. Just the right amount of bite outside and fluffy inside.

The green beans made my mouth tingle with their Szechuan pepper. Liane Faulder wrote that Chef Cruz recently returned from a trip to China, and I think this is one of his “souveniers” from the trip.

sagedessert

We finished with Peanut Praline & Chocolate Mousse Bar, garnished with hazelnut caramel & bananas brulée. The praline was in the mousse and crackled when you ate it. The bananas helped tone down the richness of the dessert.

The service continues to get better each visit. Previous visits felt a bit pretentious and stiff because of the service, but this last visit felt comfortable and unforced, and moved more like an well-oiled machine. I even saw Chef Cruz pop out into the dining room!

Sage at the River Cree
300 East Lapotac Blvd, Enoch, Alberta.
(take Whitemud Drive West past Anthony Henday, and follow to the casino :: directions)
Monday: Closed
Tuesday – Saturday 6 pm – 10 pm
Sundays  5:30 pm – 9 pm

2 Responses to “Happy returns: Sage at the River Cree”

  1. on 26 Mar 2011 at 1:21 am raina

    did you know that the Valleyview IGA(142 street and 90th Ave) sells these lentils?

  2. on 27 Mar 2011 at 1:19 am Kelly

    No! That is awesome. That is a good IGA. I live in Japan now and I would give anything for any kind of lentils, not just these. Legumes are so expensive here!