Two of my favorite things in the world are foie gras and creme brulee, so I was intrigued when I learn of a restaurant’s signature appetizer was a foie gras creme brulee. What madman invented this? And that was just the appetizer. Read on to see what I had for the rest of the course.
Only a few hours after I had the tasting menu at Gordon Ramsay Steak, the fine dining continued. Sage is one of the flagship restaurant of the upscale Aria Resort and Casino, conveniently located on The Strip. The restaurant’s modern decor matched its hosting hotel quite well. The clientele was noticeably different, gone were the jeans-and-sneakers tourists which roamed The Strip, and the establishment was half filled with well groomed, well dressed diners sipping wine. Good thing I went back to my room and changed.
Not exactly hungry from my meal just hours before, but didn’t want to just pointlessly order one or two things off the a la carte, I broke my rule of “go big or go home” and went for the second most expensive tasting menu, the Signature Tasting Menu. Two tasting menus in one day, that was a first for me. I had to mentally tell myself I’m still in my 20′s.
Foie Gras Custard Brulee, bing cherries, toasted cocoa nibs, salted brioche. This was INSANE. Like your regular creme brulee, the caramelized crust had a sweet, contrasting crunch to the custard. Now here’s the insane part. The custard was made with foie gras. It had the same creamy, smooth consistency as a regular creme brulee, but it had the same taste and thickness as foie gras. I was struggling to finish the last few bites because it was so thick and creamy. A passing waiter had to ask me if I needed another brioche to break up the richness! The five or so minutes I spent eating this temporary sent me to foodgasm heaven. Insane!
Maine Dayboat Scallops, braised oxtail, wild mushrooms, salted caramel reduction. These gigantic scallops were simply to die for. The top was well seared and it was so tender that it was almost falling apart. The braised oxtail was tender and delicious. Both the scallops and the oxtail was accentuated by the sauce which packed an incredibly flavorful punch – I was constantly trying to drench anything I could find into the reduction before putting it in my mouth. A simple looking dish that was well executed.
48 Hour Beef Belly, toasted pistachio, artichoke puree, pickled ramp. An unassuming dish, I almost had a heart attack. This thing was maybe 50%+ fat, with the marbling interlacing the meat clearly visible. Despite this, the whole thing was very tender, it felt like I’m drinking the beef. However, I just thought this was a bit too fatty and greasy, even for me. The fat just overpowered everything, the sauce and the garnish did little to save it. Maybe if the cut had a little bit more meat content, the fattiness wouldn’t be as dominant.
Rhubarb Tart, oatmeal crisp, rhubarb ribbon, creme fraiche sorbet. Visually, it looked like it belong in a modern arts museum.
Overall, a daring menu that would invite diners to explore other adventurous options on the other menus, at least it did for me. The foie gras brulee left quite an impression. Service was attentive like a typical fine dining restaurant. I might be back for the more extravagant Chef’s Tasting Menu.