If you have ever been skeptical about trying vegan food, you are not alone. Most meat eaters have no idea what type of herbivore-friendly food to get into when going to Sage Organic Bistro. Fortunately, Chef Mollie Engelhart’s creative, flavorful and diverse menu will completely change any meat eater’s perspective on plant based food.
Engelhart grew up a vegan and is one to this day, but for her it goes much deeper than a diet.
“She has a deep care and respect for animals, the environment and basically every living thing,” said Elyse Berger, Engelhart’s assistant.
The location is a locally sourced fully plant-based bistro, which is also part organic beer garden and part vegan ice creamery. Engelhart’s vision with Sage is to continue the legacy of farm to table restaurants in California and to offer a tasty and more humane alternative to the normal diet of meat and dairy.
“The quality of our produce and everything that we serve is definitely higher than most, but it’s more than just the food itself.” said Berger. “The environment, the vibe and everyone here. It’s more of a family and welcoming environment than your typical run-of-the-mill restaurant.”
As soon as you approach the bistro, guests are welcomed by a hostess surrounded by a garden of fresh flowers and plants. The location is picturesque with a tree-lined 1500 square foot beer garden entry and a rustic interior with wood-paneled walls. As if the location itself was not enough to win you over, the personal touches Chef Engelhart has put in from the make-shift bottle chandeliers to the bathtub filled with succulents are truly what makes the eatery so special.
“Mollie’s food makes vegan food very accessible to everybody,” Alejandro Garcia said, Sage’s general manager. “Her recipes aren’t just for the vegan community, they’re unique enough for everyone to enjoy, even those who aren’t vegan.”
Sage’s vegan beer garden features 24 beers on tap, in addition to a beautiful full bar inside of the restaurant. Order one of the unique cocktails created from fresh squeezed and cold pressed juices or one of the many teas and nut milks.
Not only does Sage have their own one-of-a-kind vegan beer garden, but they also feature raw and baked desserts as well as 24 flavors of Chef Engelhart’s delicious soft serve brand, Kindkreme, which has a physical location in Echo Park.
One of the most popular dishes is the buffalo cauliflower “hot wings” served with celery, carrots and ranch ($12). It is obvious why the waitress suggested them. Coming from someone who loves a classic buffalo wing, I honestly did not miss the meat. The cauliflower has a perfectly crisp and zesty exterior with an almost meaty interior.
Another popular dish with the regulars is the California avocado burger ($13). Although it personally will never measure up to a classic beef patty, the tempeh burger was surprisingly flavorful and the avocado, pesto and arugula were the perfect accompaniments.
Carly Tracer 27-year-old banker and one Sage’s regulars can not speak highly enough about the burger.
“It’s ridiculous in the best way possible. I love pesto, so it’s perfect,” Tracer said. “The potato salad that comes with it is so much better than I could ever make so I have to keep coming back especially for it.”
Despite missing the scent of bacon in the air and the food being slightly over priced, it is a beautiful location and great place to enjoy a fully plant-based meal.
4 out of 5 Stars
Culver City – 4130 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230 – Phone: (424) 228-5835
Echo Park – 1700 W Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026 – Phone: (213) 989-1718
Pasadena – 319 S Arroyo Pkwy., Pasadena, CA 91105 – Phone: (877) 985-5463