header banner
Default

A pleasant, healthful balance is struck at Sage Karma Kitchen in Willoughby | Restaurant review


Table of Contents

I don’t know why I was surprised.

Sage Karma Kitchen was opened in mid-2021 by the husband-and-wife managing partners Teanna and Dan Vitantonio, and I already was reasonably familiar with their other restaurant venture, Tavern Six in Kirtland.

I’ve never had anything but enjoyable meals at the popular establishment on Route 6, but I wasn’t prepared for the level to which I would be wowed by Sage.

I mean, wow.

Whereas Tavern Six offers a menu chock full of accessible and tasty fare, Sage goes more for that chef-prepared approach to its culinary creations, which, during a visit in January, proved to be complex, delicious and presented exquisitely.

My dining companion Cassandra and I arrived at Sage early on a Friday evening to find the space that previously was home to Nickleby’s Roundbar pretty busy. We were more than happy to grab a pair of seats at the circular bar — an obvious and welcome holdover from the Nickleby’s days.

Overall, Sage has been given a light facelift to better reflect the healthy vibe of the menu, which boasts gluten-free and vegan choices to go along with carnivore-friendly dishes. (Between the two of them, the Vitantonios are a combination of vegan, gluten- and dairy-free, and they wanted to create a restaurant that catered more to people like them.)

You’ll see the 12 laws of karma on a wall, and you might notice the scent of some sage burning. Fairly large televisions do sit above the bar, but you’d come here more for the food than to catch a game.

Starting with drinks, we quickly focused on the Specialty Cocktails despite Sage’s solid beer-and-wine offerings.

Try as I may, I was powerless to avoid my typical pro-old fashioned leanings, especially considering how wonderful Sage’s Blood Orange Old Fashioned ($10) sounded. Consisting of Maker’s Mark bourbon, orange, Amarena cherries, a rough-cut sugar cube and blood orange bitters, it was the ideal mix of sweet and bitter. If not perfect, this was darn close to it.

TNH-L-RestReview-Sage-WBOX-022522-01
Sage Karma Kitchen’s Blood Orange Old Fashioned is full of flavor but not overly sweet. (Mark Meszoros — The News-Herald)

Likewise, Cassandra loved The Shiva ($12), a nifty combo of Casamigos Tequila, agave nectar, lime, coconut milk and brown sugar, complete with a nutmeg. (It sounded sweet enough that I’d want it after dinner, not before it.)

The Beginnings section of the menu tempted us with the Hummus ($12), Shishito Peppers ($10) and Pretzel Sticks ($9), but we came together pretty quickly on the Sweet Potato Skins ($12) and Avocado ($12) appetizers. The former tops the skins with cheddar, bacon, scallions and sour cream, while the latter pairs two tempura-battered avocado halves with corn salsa and salsa roja.

Before we go any further, know you will not get filled up on at least these two apps; the portions are not generous, which was a little disappointing. But that’s mostly because both simply were fantastic, each creation offering memorable taste-and-texture combinations.

The Avocado is such a fun departure from the usual appetizer for which it’s used, guacamole — not that we’re here to hate on guac, mind you.

TNH-L-RestReview-Sage-WBOX-022522-02
Hopefully the Avocado appetizer will be back on the menu at Sage as soon as it’s easier to get good whole avocados. (Mark Meszoros — The News-Herald)

The three sweet potato skins were more along the lines of what I was expecting from the other appetizer, but that didn’t make them any less of a sweet-and-savory treat.

On a future visit, perhaps for a spur-of-the-moment lunch treat, I will try one of Sage’s tantalizing bowls, most likely the Thai Dye Bowl ($12), which brings together spiced jasmine rice along with vegetables and peanut sauce. Proteins and other additions can be made to a bowl for $4 to $12.

In fact, Cassandra chose the Karma Bowl ($12) — consisting of brown rice, cauliflower, sweet potato, mushrooms, spinach and flax — and added Faroe Island salmon to it for $12 more. She was thrilled with the dish, and the bite I had of the fish was deeply complex and delicious.

I focused on the entrees, landing pretty quickly on the Grass Fed Steak ($26), dressed with housemade chimichurri and served atop sweet potato hash. Prepared medium-rare, as requested, but with nice color on the outside, the steak bordered on perfection.

TNH-L-RestReview-Sage-WBOX-022522-04
Sorry, steak lovers — this Grass Fed Steak entree at Sage Karma Kitchen for now has been replaced with a similar short ribs dish. (Mark Meszoros — The News-Herald)

OK, so here’s the bad news in the event I have your mouth watering based on what we ordered: Sage’s menu changes regularly and has since our visit, with the current seasonal menu offering Grass Fed Short Ribs ($26), instead of the steak; similar-sounding Sweet Potato Bites ($12), instead of the skins; and no avocado-based app, as it’s not the right time of year.

I was told each of those items is likely to resurface at a later time, and I was glad to hear it.

Another bummer, if also an understandable one: While Sage, like Tavern Six, offers a unique cupcake of the day, none was available that day due to unavoidable circumstances.

I plan to return soon for a bowl or a sandwich, such as the Chickpea Patty ($12), Black Bean Patty ($12) or, more likely for a carnivore such as myself, the Sage Chicken ($11) or Grass Fed Burger ($14).

Or perhaps I visit for the relatively new Sunday brunch offering, which, at the moment, offers Breakfast Bowls, Pancakes, Huevos Rancheros and other appealing choices.

Either way, be assured that I will get my cupcake.

Reviews are based on one anonymous visit to a restaurant.

Sage Karma Kitchen

VIDEO: Ellen Degeneres is Officially CANCELLED After This Happened...
The Showest

4051 Erie St.

Willoughby

440-946-2399

SageKarmaKitchens.com

Location: On the east side of Erie Street, just south of Third Street.

Type of restaurant: Health-conscious bar and grill.

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday

Liquor and wine: Wine and beer.

Facilities for the handicapped: Yes.

Credit cards: All major

Cuisine: Eclectic.

Vegetarian: Many options

Special diets: Vegan and gluten- and dairy-free options; talk to your server about special requests.

Kid-friendliness: Highchairs, boosters and kids’ menu.

Outdoor dining: Patio.

Dress code: Casual

Reservations: No.

Wi-Fi: Yes.

Delivery: No.

Prices: Moderate, with apps around $10, sandwiches and bowls about $10, entrees ranging from $14 to $26.

Value: Good.

Ratings (of five):

Food: 4.5

Atmosphere: 3.5

Service: 4.

Sources


Article information

Author: Nathan Horne

Last Updated: 1704124804

Views: 1254

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (114 voted)

Reviews: 98% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nathan Horne

Birthday: 2009-01-19

Address: 425 Jared Mews, Port Jasonton, OH 79670

Phone: +3536264947428066

Job: Quantum Physicist

Hobby: Archery, Beekeeping, Motorcycling, Camping, Magic Tricks, Cooking, Dancing

Introduction: My name is Nathan Horne, I am a skilled, dedicated, audacious, tenacious, Determined, intrepid, courageous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.