Trying Escargot at Sage Bistro Moderne

IMG_20140110_190914The glorious implications of French food, despite all grand visions of Julia Child in her kitchen whipping up a beef bourguignon, my mind always comes back to escargot. Some TV show of my youth most likely pushed the stereotype of French food = escargot into my brain and there it has remained. I’m usually a fairly adventurous eater, but things that are bug-like usually do not cross my plate, with the exception of crab and shrimp. Raw shrimp is exceptionally bug-like to me and I have a hard time with shrimp cocktail, but dress anything up in a sauce or deep fry it and I’m game to taste it. Snails are not particularly appetizing, but my coworkers with whom I was dining at Sage Bistro Moderne in Woodbury for our holiday get-together assured me that escargot is served with lots of garlic, which I can certainly stomach.

The escargot, seen in the accompanying picture, was served in a garlic pesto sauce with small homemade croutons atop the snail. The flavor was interesting and I would say they must be an acquired taste. The garlic pesto was good as well as the crouton, but the taste of snail prevailed. It’s a tough meat with an earthen flavor that is unlike anything I’ve had before. Not necessarily bad, but you can taste that this creature lived in the earth. I tried them twice just to be sure of my palate’s verdict. I would definitely try escargot again, but maybe just one. I don’t think I could eat the whole appetizer of 6 snails on my own. The rest of our dinner party raved about the flavor of the escargot, so I know they were good quality and prepared well. I’m glad I had an opportunity to try them and kept an open mind.

We also had mussels and a brie and honey fondue with apples and croutons. I’m excited to replicate this dish with my new fondue set I received from my coworker Kristie in our company’s gift exchange. The flavors melded well together and complemented the apples and croutons perfectly. The mussels were flavorful, but I’m not a huge fan of foods I have to struggle to open and eat.

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For my entree, I ordered coq au vin, a dish I’ve been dying to try since I interviewed the owner of a kitchen supply shop back in Colorado who raved about Julia Child’s recipe for the chicken and wine dish. I’m always a fan of anything cooked in red wine as it creates a deep, savory sauce. The entree came with two generous portions of chicken, a thigh and a breast, cooked in the red wine sauce with assorted vegetables and a side of mashed potatoes, topped with a decorative potato chip. I loved the flavor of the chicken and the sauce, though my preference would be towards the thigh. I enjoy the juiciness of dark meat much more than white in general. The potatoes complemented the sauce well, but were a little bland for my taste. The potato chip on top had great flavor.

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Finally, we finished the meal with dessert. I debated between the chocolate mousse and the creme brûlée, but settled on the chocolate mousse. It arrived in a stunning presentation in a martini glass, topped with whipped cream and fresh strawberries and blueberries. The fruit married well with the decadent, rich chocolate and the mousse itself was quite thick. I enjoyed that the dessert felt light, but still substantial enough to leave me satisfied and my chocolate craving sated. I would love to visit Sage Bistro again, if not just for this dessert!

Overall, our experience at Sage Bistro Moderne was fantastic. The wine was delicious, all of our food was great and the service was excellent. I’m excited to try more of their menu and hopefully their location in Bellmore, closer to where I live.

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