Feeding Your Finer Senses

Tucked away from the seduction of Odawa’s slots, Sage serves more than a memorable meal.

Dining Room at Sage

By Patty LaNoue Stearns

If you’re a gambler, you might miss Sage, tucked in the back of the massive Odawa Casino Resort. And that would be unwise. Pry yourself away from the seduction of the slots, follow the long mosaic pathway and feed your finer senses.

Sage does not reverberate with the pulsing light and synthesized jungle sounds that electrify the casino. But this upscale, white-tablecloth restaurant does boast a spectacular 16-foot-tall wood and glass wine tower that holds some 400 bottles. Your server will fetch one by mounting the spiral staircase and turning a huge lazy susan. Great exercise. Softly lit paper pods that remind me of giant squid flank the center tower. They beg to be touched. Go ahead—everyone does–then sink into one of the curvy banquettes that ring the room, all beneath a soaring 22-foot ceiling.

If you want more wow factor, check out the slab of Paleozoic history at the bar—a granite countertop embedded with fossilized shells.

Chef Rob Sargent, who joined Sage from the Bay Harbor Yacht Club, has put together a sumptuous, seasonally changing menu, with a nice mix of apps, salads, seafood, steaks, chops and luscious-sounding desserts. My group wanted to get a feel for his cooking, so we booked reservations for the monthly wine dinner. At $95 per person, it’s a bargain for 10 courses with wine, served in the adjacent private dining room at a long table that seats 32. Think Big Night. The service was grand, and the wines, selected and poured by Pram Acharya of Esperance in Charlevoix, were a perfect match.

We started with a delicious assortment of canapés—tiny roasted new potatoes topped with crème fraîche and caviar, housemade sausage with grainy mustard and marinated peppers, crispy duck rillettes with truffled remoulade—and moved on from there. I swooned over the velvety butternut squash soup with smoked cheddar, cider-glazed chestnuts and crispy …

This article appeared in the January/February 2008 issue of Michigan BLUE. Click the link below to view this entire article in PDF format.

Click to download: BlueSagePetoskey.pdf