ARIA Resort & Casino
3732 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 4/25/15
Shawn McClain made a name for himself cooking in Chicago at the venerable Trio restaurant before opening his own restaurants Spring and Green Zebra. Winner of James Beard’s Best Chef Midwest in 2006, he was lured to Las Vegas in 2008 to open Sage at CityCenter’s Aria. It’s been a very popular restaurant ever since, though this was my first time dining here.
Menu options include a la carte, a 4-course signature menu ($89; multiple choices for each course), and an 8-course chef’s tasting ($150; no choices). We went with the signature menu with optional wine pairing ($44 for 4 pours).
CARROT ONION PANNA COTTA WITH LEMON CREAM
The first bite from the kitchen, this amuse bouche, was a light and delicate bite with clean carrot and lemon flavors coming through.
WAGYU BEEF TARTARE CRUSHED CAPER AIOLI, SLOW POACHED EGG, CRISPY CHOCOLATE
For the first course, the wagyu tartare was fatty, rich and well balanced with the egg yolk. Slivers of radish and greens added delicate texture and brightness.
FOIE GRAS CUSTARD ‘BRÛLÉE’ KUMQUAT, SALTED BRIOCHE
A signature dish of the restaurant and another first course, the custard displayed a definitive foie gras flavor with a bruleed sugary crust. A little sweet, very savory. Buttery brioche was a nice touch too.
Two seafood options made up the second course.
GRILLED SPANISH OCTOPUS BLOOMSDALE SPINACH, CHORIZO AIOLI, MARCONA ALMONDS
Octopus was cooked nicely, tender with a vibrant chorizo accompaniment. Potato crisps provided some crispy texture.
MAINE DAY BOAT SCALLOPS BRAISED OXTAIL, WILD MUSHROOMS, SALTED CARAMEL REDUCTION
The scallops seemed to be a more substantial second course with two beautifully seared scallops and a deep, rich oxtail ragu pairing. Tender mushrooms provided a little earthiness. Delicious.
One pork and two beef options made up the third course. We went with a duo of beef.
48 HOUR BEEF BELLY CONFIT ROOT VEGETABLE, PICKLED SWEET ONION, BUCKWHEAT POLENTA
Beef belly was exceptionally tender and rich with a subtle smoke essence. Very beefy, plenty of flavor. The sauce was also deep in flavor, contrasted by pickled onion and carrots.
SNAKE RIVER FARMS FLAT IRON FOIE GRAS ROASTED CHANTERELLES, CREAMY POTATOES, RED WINE-BEARNAISE
The flatiron was cooked a nice medium rare, tender with earthy mushrooms and creamy potatoes.
DARK CHOCOLATE PANNA COTTA GRAND MARNIER BUDINO, DEVONSHIRE RED VELVET SPONGE
We ordered two of the same dish for the dessert course (the other option was a meyer lemon cheesecake). Moist red velvet cake was paired with various textures of chocolate from the creamy panna cotta and budino to crispy wafers and crunchy cacao.
We thoroughly enjoyed the meal at Sage. The well-executed meal felt comfortable and unfussy, yet interesting. Definitely a good value play for a nice meal on The Strip.