Great Sage is about the best thing that ever happened to suburban Maryland. Located in Clarksville, this restaurant has been serving vegetarian cuisine since 2004. Now with an entirely vegan menu, it draws patrons from both the DC and Baltimore metro areas. Best of all, Great Sage is part of Conscious Corner, an entire shopping center dedicated to offering conscious choices. It began with Roots Market, an independent organic grocery store, then expanded to include Nest, a socially responsible gift and clothing boutique, and Bark, a natural and organic pet food and supplies store. Most recently, they also opened a clothing store for men called "Boulder for Men."
Zach and I drove to Great Sage around 6 p.m. on this Saturday evening. We didn't have reservations as you usually do not need them in this little town. They were able to seat us immediately at a table near the bar. The red walls give this restaurant a warm feeling and the eclectic artwork complements the bright walls quite nicely. I started off by ordering the drink special, but returned it about as quickly as I had received it. It tasted too much like watered down fruit juice. Instead, I ordered the caramel apple martini. Zach ordered one too. The martini was made with Van Gogh vanilla vodka, apple cider, and caramel syrup with cinnamon around the rim. It was delightfully sweet and syrupy like a liquid dessert!
I noticed that some people were eating bread so I asked my waiter if we could have some bread as well. Already irritated that he had to replace my drink, he seemed a bit agitated at the bread request as well. When he returned, I inquired as to why we needed to request the bread and he informed me that they just recently stopped serving it automatically. Good to know. Now bread is by request only, which I find very odd.
Anyway, we decided to start with the raw samosas -- the rawness gave me pause after my last experience, but I wanted to give them another try. I am so glad I did. First of all, the samosas looked beautiful. They consisted of garam masala-spiced cauliflower and pea puree wrapped in curried zucchini wraps. Served with them were three sauces - chimichurri, tomato-cucumber coulis, and minted pear puree. The wraps themselves were delicious - dehydrated to just the right texture with a strong, spicy Indian flavor. The sauces, however, left something to be desired. The minted pear puree was the best one as it had the most flavor. The other two didn't taste like much.
For our entrees, I ordered the Tempeh Bourguignon and Zach ordered the Adult Mac & Cheese. I absolutely loved my tempeh bourguignon. It is, obviously, a play on beef bourguignon so the tempeh was cut into cubes and dredged in a bold red wine herb-infused mushroom sauce with pan roasted crimini mushrooms, carrots, parsnips, and peas all served over garlic mashed potatoes. I think the tempeh was marinated very well, which isn't often the case with tempeh. The thick, rich sauce went well with this dish and the garlic mashed potatoes complemented it nicely.
Zach's mac & cheese looked better than it tasted. The rigatoni noodles were baked in melted Daiya cheddar cheese and topped with Daiya mozzarella and parmesan. The twist really came from the veggies and beans as there were also sun-dried tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, cannellini beans, cauliflower, and spinach in the casserole. It was an interesting dish and tasted fine, but I think we could have made it better at home.
The portions were quite generous and by the time we finished our entrees, we really didn't have room for dessert. Most of the time when I come here, I order the chocolate lava cake, which is incredibly decadent, but this time we were both in favor of passing.
All in all, the food was good, the service was okay, and the prices were a little bit pricey at $16 and $17 per entree. I feel like Great Sage has become less consistent over the years. It used to be that everything I ordered here was great. I used to drive out of my way to eat here on special occasions. Now, I view it as a good, casual vegan restaurant, but not one that I would go out of my way to visit. The entrees don't really blow me away anymore, but they are usually pretty good and I would definitely recommend giving them a try if you are in the Baltimore metro area.
5809 Clarksville Square Drive
Clarksville, MD 21029