We know. It’s hot. It’s summer in Oklahoma. Cool down by sampling cocktails that local bars and restaurants have concocted just for you. Find a nice, air conditioned space or a shaded patio and while away the hours drinking the flavors of summer. You might decide it’s not that bad after all.
— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock, Shannon Cornman and Lauren Hamilton
There are a wealth of new local eateries cropping up in the metro and even more coming. If they’re not on your radar, they should be. From the comfy atmosphere at The Barrel on Western Avenue to the laid-back vibe at the Plaza District’s coffee shop, you might find a new regular hangout.
— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman
For metro residents looking for the homey nature of the suburbs with the excitement of city life, there are few districts more suitable than the Deep Deuce neighborhood, which has been in the midst of a renaissance.
With a big, glass front, located on the corner of a low-rise apartment building, Sage nods to Deep Deuce past and present with both food and decor. The simple but charming interior is warmly lit with pendant lighting and anchored by a modern, wooden bar with a statement piece — a wall-enveloping photo of Deep Deuce circa mid-20th century — plastered against the back of the front room. More so than many restaurants, the setting seems to tell a story, showcasing the neighborhood’s history while looking forward.
right It’s a favorite, the truffle mac ’n’ cheese dish at Sage.
I’ve had mac ’n’ cheese for dinner many a time, but the only thing that qualified it as such was the heaping quantities that I piled on my plate; Sage takes the idea, elevates and refines it. Gourmet ingredients — both expected and not — find their way onto the oozy plate, totally changing the makeup in a playful, child-playing-with-their-food sort of way.
The seafood mac ($15) has been done plenty of times before — especially with lobster — but this specific plate makes the plunge into the deep, blue sea with lump crab, petite shrimp and buttery scallops. It’s as fishy and briny as you might expect, purposefully so, as it transforms into a soulful, Northeastern coastal flavor profile.
The roasted chicken and truffle bowl ($13.50) makes the most culinary sense. The chicken takes naturally to the curly noodles, and the truffle sauce cuts the creamy cheese with its pungent earthiness. All the flavors balance out, but find their own room to shine. The beef and cheddar ($12.50) is another warm, hearty offering that is deeply satisfying with strong, warm flavors.
Other slightly more daring spins on the favorite include the grilled shrimp pesto or the Greek ’n’ Cheese (that’s chicken, feta, garlic, tomatoes and kalamata olives). Last, but not least, is the three-cheese, which finds Cheddar, Muenster and Gorgonzola baking into a fine, pleasantly burnt crust over the soft, gooey noodles hiding beneath.
If the macaroni presented to you feels like it could use a little seasoning, that’s where the finishing salts come into play. With names like Murray River and Cyprus Flake, the salts add smoky and tropical flourishes, and come as a side to your meal (three for $2).
The other entrées are still plates with which to be contended. The crab cake ($17.50) especially pops with its perfectly paired red pepper sauce, and the grilled salmon ($16) — topped with a garlic and scallion beurre blanc — is a point of pride for the eatery.
More Southern favorites find their place throughout the dinner and lunch menus. The crispy pan-fried green tomatoes ($7.50) are served with a sweet buttermilk ranch that would definitely do grandma proud. Other subtly refined appetizer options include the grilled chili-lime chicken wings ($8.50) that are served with a bright chili-lime cilantro sauce (a serious threat to ranch in the fight for chicken-wing accompaniment). The grilled vegetable platter ($8.50) — local vegetables seasoned with salts and herbs, served alongside chips and a creamy hummus — is a diner favorite.
And for being so potent with the delicious (if not entirely healthy) mac ’n’ cheese plates, Sage also does salads as good as most places around. The sesame ahi salad ($12.50) certainly jumps out of the pack (school?) with its tangy, ahi marinade laced over a bed of lettuce, green onions, radish and red bell peppers with a clear, sweet lemon vinaigrette.
With each and every diverse plate, Sage seems to hold one mantra close to its chest: There’s no place like home.
Oklahoma Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when appropriate.