Last week I had the honour of attending a Media Dinner at Sage Restaurant, out at the River Cree. The dinner was a peek at the Taste of Europe menu put together by the very talented Chef Chartrand as a part of the Sage Signature Series. This delicious 6 course tasting menu will be available at Sage from August 26th though until the 31st for $49.
This was actually my first visit out to Sage and I was very impressed with the food. Chef Chartrand really knows what he is doing. I enjoyed each and every course, and $49 for a delicious and beautifully presented 6 course meal really is a great deal.
My good friend Katy was my date for the dinner and we both thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Each course represented a different European country, thus truly giving us a “taste of Europe”. For our dinner, there were also drink pairings for every course, which made for a very jovial and enjoyable evening. (Note, although we were provided drink pairings, the $49 menu does not include the drink pairings.)
Spain- Clams and Chorizo Sausage Al Ajillo, with Crispy Ensalda paired with Cava Baron De Valis Cruit from Catlyuna.
This dish was light, but full of flavour, a wonderful way to start the meal. Although I was initially taken aback by the combination of Chorizo and clams, I realized that it actually made a lot of sense when you think about the traditional Spanish dish, Paella, which utilizes both of these ingredients. I really loved the spice of the chorizo and I thought it was a great contrast to the clams. I also may have enjoyed a couple of glasses of the delicious, sparkling Cava that was paired with this dish.
Germany- Beef Goulash, Braised Cabbage, Potato-Gerkin Cream and Spelt Bread paired with Andreas Bender Pinot Noir.
Chef Chartrand’s take on Beef Goulash was phenomenal. The meat was so tender and flavourful, and I absolutely loved the Potato Gerkin cream. The salty, crunchy potato crisps also provided a great contrast in texture to the goulash. Although I did drink the glass of wine served with this course, I am not the biggest Pinot fan, so it wasn’t my favourite.
Italy- Tagliatelle with Veal Osso Bucco, Roasted Romaine and Balsamic Foie paired with Nero Di Troia From Pugia.
This pasta was amazing. The noodles had the wonderful texture that only fresh, homemade pasta can achieve and there were so many different, contrasting, yet complimenting, flavours and textures going on with this dish. The veal osso bucco was tender and delicious, but there was also something wonderfully crunchy going on here. And of course it didn’t hurt that the pasta was topped with a generous amount of parmesan ‘snow’. My only compliant was that the portion perhaps could have been a little bit bigger, because it was just so darn good.
England- ‘Cottage Pie’ paired with 1448 Premium Whisky Ale from Perthshire.
If all Cottage Pie tasted this good, then I would be eating it every day; Chef Chartrand’s take on Cottage Pie was a home run. The base was a layer of velvety smooth potato purée, which was then topped with some traditional Cottage Pie ingredients, beef and carrots, and some not so traditional ingredients, crispy kale and parmesan. Together, this made one delicious dish; I think I practically licked my plate clean. A Whisky Ale was served with this course, and although I am just starting to learn to appreciate beer, I think it still might be a little too advanced for my palate. It did have an interesting sweetness to it, however it was a little too malty for my taste.
France- Coq au Vin, Burgandy Emulsion, and Greyer Gougeres paired with Font De Michelle Chateauneuf du Pape from Rhone Valley.
This dish really let Chef Chartrand flex some culinary muscle. It showcased his French pastry skills in the form of a Gougère and also some Molecular Gastronomy, with the Burgandy Emulsion. Although this dish was good, I would say, if forced to choose, it probably would have been my least favourite of the night. The wine pairing, however, was probably my favourite wine of the evening.
Switzerland- Swiss Chocolate Soufflé paired with ‘A Walk in the Woods’ a Kirsch Based Cocktail.
I don’t always enjoy chocolate soufflé, due to my unfortunate egg aversion, however this soufflé was more cakey than eggy, which made me very happy. It was wonderfully rich and chocolately. We were also provided small pitchers containing creme anglaise to pour over the soufflé. The dessert was perfectly decadent and a wonderful ending to the dinner. A delicious, but very boozey, Kirsch based cocktail was served with dessert. The rim of the glass appeared to be dipped in a spicy cinnamon and brown sugar mixture, which actually paired quite nicely with the sweet decadence of the chocolate soufflé.
Katy and I had such a wonderful time at Sage. I was very impressed with the Taste of Europe menu created and executed by Chef Chartrand. It’s a little bit of trek to head out to the River Cree for me now, however I was really glad that I made the trip. Every dish was plated beautifully and incredibly tasty. If you are looking for a fun dining experience and are a lover of good food, I would really recommend heading out to Sage and taking part in one of their Signature Series dinners.