I love it when my friends tell me about new places which have opened up and that they’ve been and it’s good. This is one of those occasions where my friend Selene has been almost compulsive and has returned again and again ….. finally gets me to join her on one of her visits.
Sage Cafe is a small cozy spot so hidden from view that I have easily driven past it several times in the last few months and never knew it was there. They have been open since the end of 2010 and sit in the same plaza as Ikko. The Huddle and Lotions & Lace.
The restaurant is very small, probably seats about 20 people tops. The menu is also small, offering predominantly breakfast and lunch selections. Omelettes, breakfast sandwiches, French toast and waffles are your choices, but I hardly ever feel like a western breakfast and luckily, neither did Selene so we both opted for something else instead.
Funnily, we both selected the sandwich and soup combo. There were two soups of the day, one of which was grilled chicken with mushroom soup with a hint of cream. I liked how it wasn’t overly creamy and although the photo did not come out aesthetically pleasing, its flavor was another story. I totally preferred it over the other.
The second soup choice was curried vegetable and while I loved the hints of curry, I didn’t like how watery it was or how salty it was. I thought a little more ‘chunk’ in the vegetables would’ve been a better way to serve this soup. A cup is $2.95 or $4.95 for a bowl with French baguette. We got a cup of it with our combos.
While I don’t eat a lot of salads, I really enjoyed the Sesame chicken salad ($5.95). Grilled chicken, almonds, green onions, bell peppers, diced tomatoes, and salad greens tossed with a house-made sesame dressing is refreshing and I couldn’t stop eating it even though it was on Selene’s plate and not mine. I don’t ordinarily like this salad because I find it very sweet and unpleasant, but this is not overly sweet and freshly made in-house by the chef, down to the dressing!
In fact, all dressings are created in-house. You get your choice and it depends on what the chef decides to make that day. I chose cilantro dressing to accompany my mixed salad ($3.95), a simple concoction of greens, tomatoes, onions and avocado. I passed on the croutons –not a fan.
I chose the chicken salad and havarti sandwich ($5.95) and was happy to find that the chicken salad is not overladen with mayo. There was ample chicken without many fillers and generously stuffed between the baguette with lettuce and tomato slices. Selene’s grilled chicken sandwich offered up a nice piece of chicken with condiments on the baguette.
Came back again to try the breakfast another morning and I ordered the Californian Omelette ($5.95) and it was a huge portion with lots of bacon, grilled onions, tomato and topped with avocado slices. The omelette is served with fresh fruit although I would’ve liked some sort of carb like toast with it.
Make sure you ask what the specials are if they are not on the board. One of the specials we tried was a grilled chicken sandwich topped with mushrooms and the baguette is smeared with a delicious house-made sun dried tomato sauce.
I’ve heard that their business is picking up and they aren’t as “hidden” as they used to be, but I like to go early in the day so it is still rather quiet. My suggestion is to go early or go later — avoid the lunch rush — and just enjoy the warmth and comfort this little cozy place has to offer.
735 W Baker Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626