Restau­rant Re­view

Red Sage

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO - Alex Heard

There are a cou­ple of throw­back aspects to Red Sage, the up­scale restau­rant that sits in­side the huge Buf­falo Thun­der Re­sort & Casino. The menu is heavy on beef, seafood, and hearty side dishes like mashed pota­toes and creamed spinach, giv­ing the place the feel of an old-fash­ioned Las Ve­gas steak­house. More un­usual, the restau­rant is si­t­u­ated fairly close to a big casino f loor where smok­ing is al­lowed. Though the re­sort does what it can to neu­tral­ize the smell — with ven­ti­la­tion and air fresh­ener — it’s no­tice­able through­out the main lobby and in­side the restau­rant.

Red Sage’s in­te­rior is spa­cious and pleas­ant, with two main rooms full of sturdy, widely spaced ta­bles and padded up­hol­stered chairs. There’s a pri­vate walled-off din­ing area, and you can also or­der from a smaller menu at a wide bar that flanks the restau­rant. An open kitchen is po­si­tioned at an an­gle on one side, giv­ing you a view of cooks, flames, and the bus­tle of a busy workspace. In ad­di­tion to the fa­mil­iar steak­house-style of­fer­ings, the menu also in­cludes sal­ads, ap­pe­tiz­ers, and small plates. The small-plate por­tions are gen­er­ous, and you could eas­ily build a meal from th­ese alone.

On my first visit, we started with two cock­tails, a mar­garita and a Man­hat­tan, which both came up short. The mar­garita’s cit­rus base was too sweet, and it was served “up” — shaken with ice and strained into a mar­tini glass, a bad idea for a drink that needs to stay cold. The Man­hat­tan was served up, too — they’re sup­posed to be — but it was a bit watery.

The two ap­pe­tiz­ers we tried were both very good. The salad of beets and cheese is a nice mix of baby greens, red onion, car­rots, cherry toma­toes, sprouts, bal­samic-vine­gar dress­ing, and a tidy stack of sliced beets lay­ered with a mild goat cheese. An­other hit was a small plate called pork belly — a red chile-spiced posole stew with a dark gumbo-like broth; bits of onion, radish, and tomato; and a gen­er­ous chunk of braised fatty pork at the cen­ter.

The small-plate por­tions are gen­er­ous, and you could eas­ily build a meal from th­ese alone.

I tried the ten­der­loin of beef — an ex­cel­lent piece of meat that was sea­soned with salt and pep­per and seared medi­um­rare — and three sides: mashed pota­toes, chile-cheese grits, and as­para­gus. The pota­toes and grits were both creamy and good, but the as­para­gus had picked up an un­pleas­ant oily taste. The only other fail that night was the Chilean sea bass, which was rub­bery and overly fishy. We ended things on a more pos­i­tive note with a slice of flour­less choco­late torte that had a rich, deep fla­vor.

Red Sage has a big wine list and also of­fers an am­ple beer se­lec­tion that mixes big brands with a few craft op­tions served in bot­tles or on tap. Dur­ing a visit on a busy Satur­day night, we or­dered two draft beers. I tried an ale from Chicago’s Goose Is­land Beer Com­pany, a good choice for any­one who likes beer that’s only mildly hoppy.

The ap­pe­tiz­ers we tried were, as be­fore, plen­ti­ful. The gar­den flat­bread — a cracker-crust oval topped with goat cheese, onions, mush­rooms, and chopped kale — was about the size of a small pizza. It was a lit­tle dry, and the kale, which was raw, didn’t add much in the way of taste. The crab cakes had a nice brown crust but were mushy in­side — the ra­tio of filler to crab meat def­i­nitely fa­vors the house.

The pan- seared scal­lops were a dis­ap­point­ment. They were rub­bery, served on a bed of too-sweet creamed corn, and ac­com­pa­nied by steamed and sautéed broc­coli that was past its prime. I tried the pasta car­bonara; Red Sage uses bu­ca­tini, a thick-gauge noo­dle that’s pretty heavy. The creamy sauce — with Parme­san, jalapeño ba­con, and green chile — was tasty but spicy, which some will find jar­ring in a tra­di­tional Ital­ian dish. For dessert we tried the ice-cream sun­dae, which was re­ally more of a ba­nana split. It was OK, but one of the key in­gre­di­ents, vanilla ice cream, was bland.

In sum, this is an up-and- down sort of restau­rant. If the smoke isn’t a deal-breaker and you’re will­ing to ex­per­i­ment, you’re likely to find food worth go­ing back for.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.