Dinner out with both of my kids and their significant others is a rarity. We are a family with complex dining restrictions (all except for me, of course). My daughter and her boyfriend will only eat at kosher or vegan restaurants. My son and daughter-in-law are meat free (will eat fish), and she is gluten free/dairy free. Thankfully the kosher options in the area are growing (thank you Serengeti), but we’re still limited if we all want to dine out together.
Great Sage, a vegan restaurant in Clarksville, Maryland (near Columbia) has always loomed in the background as an ideal destination for my family. Great Sage is not new, but it’s been several years since I’ve eaten here. After a recent visit, I deem it worthy of more frequent patronage. Beyond fulfilling our various dietary needs, I feel like I’m giving my body a break from the usual onslaught of unnecessary fat, salt, and preservatives. Of course, I assume this means I can increase the quantity of food intake.
Great Sage has an appealing drink menu with a variety of organic wines, and a creative list of cocktails. For those who can’t quite decide on the appropriate libation, the menu includes suggestions to pair with your food. A pineapple margarita with tacos pastor, for example, makes for a fine combination.
The menu at Great Sage is a potpourri from around the world. Papas bravas are an excellent starter with a generous portion of olive-oil roasted potatoes, drizzled with savory spiced tomato sauce and a side of herbed aioli. “Buffalo bites” are battered and baked pieces of cauliflower tossed in spicy buffalo sauce. The coating is a bit heavy, masking the flavor and texture of the vegetable underneath. But the heat is on, and the celery and dill ranch dressing on the side still make for this dish a satisfying replica of one of my favorite foods.
Other international offerings which make for appetizing starters include miso tofu, Greek salad, and panzanella.
I thoroughly enjoy Thai curry black garlic noodles, served atop a sizzling green curry sauce. Broccoli, peppers, onions, and grape tomatoes add crunch and character. It’s a dish I would eagerly order on a return visit.
Tacos pastor bring forth a taste of Mexico, with tortillas (regular or gluten free) that you fill to the brim with roasted sweet potatoes, corn, peppers, onion and pineapple. Chili-lime crema and cilantro round out the flavors, and a filling accompaniment of brown rice and stewed black beans are served on the side.
African cuisine gets a shout out with savory lentil stew with curried coconut peanut sauce and a side of rice. Each dish impresses with bold and distinct flavors.
The flair on the plate translates to the decor at Great Sage, with accents of soothing deep jewel tones of olives, purples, and burnt orange.
The greatest thing about Great Sage is that you don’t have to be on a meat-free diet to enjoy dining here. With diverse offerings from around the world, this is a restaurant that can meet everyone’s needs.
Great Sage, 5809 Clarksville Square Drive, Clarksville, MD