Add a Little Sage. It's Vegan

I found myself in Los Angeles. I was with good friends en route to meet more friends. We agreed on a well know joint in LA called Sage Vegan Bistro. I heard a lot of things about this place, so it was time to put the reviews to the test. We were fortunate, we found parking right across the street from the corner plant-based establishment. I dashed across Sunset (Blvd.) while the rest of the crew parked. I opened the glass and wood framed door and said "K, party of 6 for 7:30" The hostess found the reservation and escorted me to the upper balcony, then our dining experience began.

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Sage Vegan Bistro has several locations; we settled on the LA location at 1700 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026. This place had a rustic feel to it and didn't take itself too seriously. The Coffee/dessert bar was clad with worn planks. The seating was primarily retro industrial iron chairs of various colors. The rest of the decorum match that rustic feel; including the mason jar style light fixtures dropped from the ceiling and tall single pane windows looking out onto Logan Street (A name near and dear to my heart...I spent many of my formidable years in hood called Logan).

The balcony was perfect for our experience. I was able to watch other patrons as they partook in their meals and it gave us plenty of space and distant from the rest to have a boisterous, fun filled time, enjoying each other's company.

We ordered a good bit of vegan bistro fare, so let's not waste any more time and get to it. I'll review some of the major dishes we enjoyed and leave some room for your exploration, should you find yourself in Echo Park, Silver Lake, or even Ladera Heights and just in need of a plant-based fix.

3 Wing Platter - Tempura cauliflower in spicy buffalo, sweet & sour and BBQ sauce w/ celery, carrots, 'ranch.' Ok, so this wasn't an innovative menu item, but it was one of the better renditions of the becoming staple I've had in some time. The buffalo wasn't over done with heat, the sweet and sour was delicate, but it held up against the BBQ style wings. You get a lot of 'wings' with this selection. We ate it all. B+

Taco Salad - Jackfruit 'carnitas', brown rice, black beans, and bunch of other stuff served with a habanero 'cream cheese' and avocado dressing. The idea of this salad was fantastic, but the delivery was less than fantastic. The ingredients were fresh, the avocado dressing was light, the pickled peppers and cabbage were tasty; however, the intended highlight of the dish, the 'carnitas' was strong and overpowering. The remaining ingredients just couldn't hide it. C+

BBQ Pulled 'Pork' Jackfruit Sandwich - BBQ jackfruit with a spicy avocado lime-dressing coleslaw and garlic aioli on a whole wheat baguette. The baguette had a wonderful crunch on the outside, and soft, but not doughy inside. the coleslaw moisturized the French bread just enough to avoid cutting the roof of your mouth. The aioli was well done and went well with the dressing. The 'pulled pork' itself was cooked well; however, the BBQ came across of more of a dry chili rub than a true BBQ. The vinegar tang in the Jackfruit cut too much into the sweetness of the BBQ flavor; However, I have to admit, I ate more of the sandwich the next day and somehow the flavors found marital bliss and it was much more enjoyable. B

Cali Avocado Pesto Burger - Tempeh burger with avocado, tomato, onion, arugula, garlic aioli and pesto on a whole wheat bun. The burger had excellent flavor, but lacked in texture you might anticipate in a burger. The combination of avocado and pesto on the light wheat bun was outstanding. Adding arugula gave it the 'bite' it needed and paired wonderfully with the garlic aioli. Aside from texture preference, this is an outstanding item. A-

Brownie Sundae - Baked gluten free brownie w/ a scoop of chocolate, strawberry & vanilla ice cream, topped w/ almonds & raw chocolate syrup. The ice 'cream' scoops were all delicious. All three had a coconut milk base, but the flavors were still distinct and on point. The brownie left a little to be desired; all gluten free items are not equal. The brownie lacked the airiness and decadence it deserved. Often a tad of vinegar is added to make a cake fluffy. In this case someone was a little heavy handed. The dessert suffered because of it. Ice 'cream' A, Brownie C-, Dessert in total C+

The menu at Sage is pretty extensive. It includes soups, entrees, pizzas, bowls, and wraps. Overall, we enjoy the food, people and experience. I'll be back to get my hands on some of the other dishes soon enough. I recommend this place; especially if you like 'fun' foods and/or are new to plant based cuisine.

Check out the full report card below:

Place Location B+ Easy to locate. Right on the corner of Sunset. Good area with plenty of activity
Parking I think we lucked up with timing. It's on an active street and I can see parking being somewhat of a issue
Restaurant Atmosphere B- Very comfortable spot. Not the most beautiful location, but the rustic approach is cool
Cleanliness B- We had to return one dish because it didn’t get completely clean in the dishwasher, but that was the only issue
People Service (Hostess, wait time, etc) B+ The hostess was energetic and down to earth. We made reservations so our table was ready immediately
Waiter/Waitress B+ The waitress was accommodating and so were the other team members. We had to return 2 items and they were kind enough to remove them from the bill without issue
Fellow Customers B+ Almost a non-factor since we were so engaged with each other. The other patrons seemed like a refined bunch though
Food Presentation B Nothing extravagant, but a clean presentation nonetheless
Originality C+ These are mostly dishes you've seen before if you're a foodie, but their take on them are unique
Taste B Overall good flavors
Nutrition/Ingredients B Being plant based helps, obviously. Nothing was over salted. The ingredients tasted fresh
Price Appetizer/Starters Price Range B The appetizers were made to share! So the prices make sense
Entrees Price Range B- Some items are pricier than other; BUT you won't leave hungry!
Drink Prices B- The drinks and cocktails were what you'd expect (~$10+), but like the food, you will not leave 'thirsty'


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