Sep 19, 2019

Sage Fine Dining

By Lori Draz

Sage Fine Dining oakhurst NJ menu food

Astounding! Every now and then, something truly special happens, like it did the night we had dinner at Sage Fine Dining. First of all, forget everything you think you know about kosher and fine dining. This is not kreplach and corned beef, nor is it a single olive floating on bed of pea foam. This is fine dining with real spirit, designed to invite while feeding your body and your soul. Sam, the owner, is a uniquely lovely man – complex and approachable, just like the meals. We were also delighted to see a vigorous-looking Gil Benjamin back spinning his culinary magic as well.

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The restaurant fills up as the night wears on and the super-efficient staff smoothly and graciously handled the packed house which included three birthday parties on the night of our visit.

Every single ingredient, right down to each lettuce leaf, is inspected by the rabbis, and the freshness and quality are second to none.

There is indeed a greater power in this restaurant; just ask about the artwork and you’ll see. If you ask, Sam will share his dedication to healing and spirituality; if you don’t, you’ll still taste it with every bite.

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We began with three appetizers. The Mac ‘N Cheese Eggroll is perhaps their most popular appetizer. Its crispy, thin eggroll wrapper holds a spectacular, beautiful golden mac and cheese.

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We also had the Sage Ravioli, which are gently toasted ricotta raviolis topped with Italian herbs and served with marinara. Finally, the Caprese Salad exploded with freshness – like summer on a plate.

Sage Fine Dining oakhurst NJ menu

We then sampled some of the caviar-capped sushi and tempura which is crowned with colorful, edible flowers. We were speechless. Everyone agreed it may have been the finest sushi we’ve ever had. So artful, so fresh, so tasty, and Sage has so many sushi choices, you’ll want to try them all.

Time for our entrées. Each of the entrées comes with your choice of two sides. We had the creamed spinach, the sautéed mixed vegetables, brown rice and mashed potatoes. They were all so good, and those mashed potatoes are perfect for purists – no garlic or other add-ins, just creamy and delicious.

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Diner one chose a dish called Sage Meunière which is an inspired French New Orleans-style crispy, flaky cod. It came topped with a dark brown, mildly spicy sauce and candied, sliced almonds. Wow! She was in love with the combination of flavors, especially the bold and earthy sauce, which we learned was an award-winner. It’s a great take on cod, so do try it.

Sage Fine Dining oakhurst NJ menu

Diner two chose Caribbean Crispy Bronzini. It’s a show-stopping presentation of a whole branzino, marinated then fried, and served with a tantalizing blend of mild jerk seasoning and a drizzle of sweet chili sauce. It was almost too pretty to eat, but after a long stare, he slipped the fish right off the bone and enjoyed every bite.

Sage Fine Dining oakhurst NJ menu food

Diner three went with Salmon Supreme: seared salmon fillet braised in a pool of carrot juice and thyme. The vibrant color almost made you squint, and it was just as bright-tasting. Again, the freshness and the high-quality ingredients shone.

Sage Fine Dining oakhurst NJ menu food

I went in a bolder direction, choosing the Moroccan Sea Bass which is a not-too-spicy, pan-seared sea bass served with a sumac and honey cous cous, and sautéed chick peas, peppers, onions and aromatic spices. The perfume of those Middle Eastern spices blows you away. You literally can taste this dish before it hits the table. The cous cous is so fluffy, and entire the dish is like going on an exotic vacation.

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Time for the desserts. We tried three, and each one was incredible! The bread pudding may have been my favorite but only by micrometers. It is a dense, cake-like pudding with soft, rich French toast flavors and a caramel drizzle.

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The crème brûlée and the flan were each so creamy and comforting. Have dessert; you will not be disappointed!

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BYOB. Under the Supervision JSOR/Mehadrin, Cholov Yisroel, Pat Yisroel, Yashan, Postiv Produce

Cost – moderate (appropriate for kosher)

What we liked – The incredible energy that starts with Sam, the wildly special owner. The super-fresh fish and all the ingredients, the flavor-packed recipes, the artful sushi, the hardworking and sweet staff, the beautiful plating, the mesmerizing artwork, the sleek but friendly interior, the generous portions and attention to the smallest details.

What could be better – We loved it all!

Rating: We give it 5 Js

Sage Fine Dining is located at 1610 Route 35 South, in the Orchard Plaza Shopping Center in Oakhurst. 732-695-3122. SageFineDining.com. Open Monday through Thursday 11 am to midnight. Closed Friday. Open Saturday after sundown to midnight.