Sage Restaurant offers a new twist

Written by Nicholas Serrano. Posted in Dining & Entertainment, Entertainment

Published on September 13, 2011 with No Comments

Both elegant and charming, with a breath of maturity amidst the sleek and exciting, the walk into Sage Restaurant in Chesterton brings about a sense of nostalgia. With Frank Sinatra playing softly through the speakers, the atmosphere created speaks volumes about the attitude and what to expect from Sage, and that’s just the impression standing in the lobby.

Food lovers, cuisine connoisseurs, executive chef Joe Gaal, or Chef Joe, his wife and general manager Melissa Gaal and chef Rennie Moseley share ownership and operations of Sage and have worked hard to bring their restaurant dreams into reality. With years of restaurant and service industry experience under their belts, food quality and service can be expected by patrons of the establishment. Although this is the Gaal’s first attempt at owning a restaurant, Chef Joe earned his culinary degree from Ivy Tech Community College and has prepared world-class food in many locations, both near and far including Picasso Restaurant in Crown Point.

Sage Restaurant brings a bit of the past and the present to the table, according to Gaal. It’s comfortable yet stylish and chic. The Gaals chose the name Sage for their restaurant because its their favorite herb and because Chef Joe thinks it’s the sexiest herb and moves to define the restaurant’s identity. Relaxed lighting and elegant music put the customer at ease while being treated with excellent service. The food, however, is what really brings Sage to the limelight.

Chef Joe prides himself and excels in using all fresh ingredients. Homemade, handmade food, pasta and breads are all customers should expect at Sage. Many of the ingredients used in the foods prepared at Sage are grown and produced locally. Sage also includes locally brewed beer from Three Floyds Brewery in Munster. Its wine selection is mature as well. For its produce Sage uses River Bottom Produce, based in Hamlet, IN and a variety of other ingredients are purchased from local farmer’s markets.

“Joe has a passion for food, he loves using fresh toppings. With Joe, creating his dishes isn’t a chore, it’s ‘What can I run to the farmers market and buy and what can I create out of that,’” said Melissa.

Due to the local nature of its foods origins, Sage’s menu is always changing slightly with the seasons. For example, with summer coming to an end and autumn beginning, Chef Joe may substitute the handmade cheese tortellini with a squash tortellini with sage brown butter. Or perhaps, moving from infusing its vodkas with lemon, they soon will be using apples and cinnamon. Sage also plans on including food and wine pairing, tasting dinners, all of which will be in conjunction with the seasons.

“We love serving people quality food,” said Chef Joe. “I enjoy the artistic and creative side of feeding people.”

Sage’s menu is tasteful and offers a wide variety without attempting to overdue itself. Its scallops are fresh and a customer favorite. Some of its appetizers include crostini with prosciutto, fig and mint, eggplant cannoli and shrimp or mussels with sausage, with others available as well. Sage’s take on pizza is simple and classic. Its BLT pizza uses freshly prepared house dough, pancetta, fresh tomatoes, spinach, fresh mozzerella and house red sauce. The ricotta cheese gnocci with homemade sausage and fennel red sauce is the perfect blend of flavor and texture. Sage’s seafood pasta is also an excellent choice featuring scallops, shrimp, mussels, white wine garlic butter sauce and homemade capellini. The balsamic salmon is prepared with precision and offers Italian spice on the fish with seasonal vegetables, roasted potatoes, balsamic reduction, micro-green salad and citrus vinaigrette. Sage’s roasted chicken is outstanding, featuring olives, capers, lemon, arugula, fresh tomatoes, lemon vinaigrette, seasonal vegetables and risotto. This is just a few of the items on the menu, which is stacked with a multitude of items intended to please the palette.

“We’re most passionate about exceeding guests’ expectations. We want to offer food supporting local farmers, using fresh ingredients in a creative manner,” said Gaal.

Sage Restaurant’s hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is located at 425 Sand Creek Drive in Suite B. For more information call 219-926-6500 or visit www.sagerestaurant.net.

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