Sage French Cafe and Wine Bar
2378 N Federal Highway
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33305
Reviewed by: Tom House
We visited Sage on a busy Friday night. We sat at “bar” first and had glasses of wine from the extensive selection. There is no liquor served here by the way..only beer and wine. We moved to a table after negotiating with hostess, who did not want to sit us before checking to see if the empty table we were requesting was reserved or not. That is good business for sure, so we waited a bit longer
and soon got the table of our choice for our party of three. I felt excited about eating at this French cafe which has been in this location for many years. My excitement would not last too long unfortunately.
We were approached quickly and we had a feeling early on that our table service from Alexandra was going to be very good. She has a confident, fun table side manner and is enjoyable to have as a server. We ordered main courses only with no appetizer, so it took a while. We expected that …and as seasoned restaurant people, we are always aware that dinners ordered with no appetizers can take a long time, and the restaurant was very busy too. Finally the food came. Two of us had salmon and one had meatloaf. The meatloaf was thick, moist and flavorful, served with some brown sauce, a few pieces of mushrooms and carrots. I mean how exciting can a meatloaf presentation be? It was a tasty dish though. The Salmon on the other hand was a disgrace. It was “hammered” (over-cooked) and unrecognizable, quite dry and served with 6 pieces of balsamic onions, dry mashed potatoes and banquet style vegetables. I am quite sure the chefs who let this go out of their
kitchen have stopped caring and are just ” working”. I have coined this phrase a long time ago… CONSCIOUS COMPROMISE. This means chefs send food out that they know is far from perfect, or servers do things they know are wrong…but they do them anyway. This to me is the downfall of many restaurants, and if you want to have a great restaurant, you never make conscious compromises. Those are the things that come back to bite you in the proverbial ass.
While we were eating our dinners, we took a break a couple times to talk. There was clearly food on our plates when a bus boy came by, holding other dirty plates from another table he had just cleared outside, and asked if we were finished. We politely waved him off and resumed eating for fear it would happen again. A few minutes later we paused again and a different bus boy started heading our way! I attempted to wave him off but he still came to the table and asked,”Are you still working on that?” Holding back my irritation, I said please give us a few more
minutes. In my mind I am thinking, I am not here WORKING! I am not digging a ditch or swinging a hammer! Too many restaurants today have employees, busboys and servers included who use this type of verbiage with guests. Sage is not alone by any means, but when I am doing my work as a restaurant consultant, I always bring this up and remind employees of a great saying – “We are ladies and gentleman serving ladies and gentleman”.
The wine selection by the bottle and especially by the glass is extensive and we were able to find some very good wines to drink at fair prices. We might not give Sage a second try here because the lack of inspiration they exhibit with the food is contagious, …and I am pretty sure we caught it too. After being FOREVER in this location SAGE, don’t get complacent chefs!! Some people know what is good and what is not.