Restaurant Review – Sage Mediterranean Grill
After a day of shopping with my daughter we decided to hit the Mediterranean restaurant on the road with the Mall. Location is on Mall of Georgia Blvd in Buford, Georgia. The history of this particular space is that it has always been Mediterranean style food. It may be on its third owner. I have eaten there over five times in the last few years. I have had to be rather picky with the food choices. But I like lamb and they are the only place close that fixes lamb.
Let us look at the parking for the restaurant. The handicap area is at the front of the building and there are only two spots. They were not directly in front of the doors, but to the side. I like this, since sometimes I need to adjust clothing if I am a passenger. When I drive, I must stand completely still while my body adjusts from sitting behind the wheel to standing on firm ground. By not having to park right at the entrance I feel like people don’t get a ‘show’. The front door was not too heavy to push, a plus to me. The flooring was smooth, but not slippery. The area was open and if I were to have to use a walker there would be no embarrassment of bumping into people at tables. Several ladies in my support groups commented on the fact that we could be known to choose a restaurant strictly on the comfy seating. That is true for me, too. When asked which we wanted: booth or table, I literally touch the nearest chair cushion to test it. I think the hostess was shocked, she huffed. I chose table! Usually it is “booth” so I can put my legs and feet up to ease the bumm, but thinking about this review I chose the table. I was not disappointed. It was the first table I have sat at, (since this mess has started) that I did not have to get up from to change the nerve messages in my bum.
Now to ordering. I told the waitress that I had food allergies and intolerance’s and asked if she could guide me with the new menu. She was polite and she said she would ask the chef any questions I wanted. That is a plus to me. But note: no identifying labels on the menu. After taking our drink order she returned to the kitchen and the manager stepped out and came to our table to speak with us. I told him that I need to make sure no gluten was in any of the sauces and that canola oil was not used in their kitchen; he told me they never use blended oils and it would either be olive or avocado oil. OK, we have a win. After asking for the lamb kabobs he suggested that I do not have the rice that it would normally be sitting on since there was a pasta in the rice. I chose the lemon roasted potatoes, knowing full well that sometimes potatoes will upset my system. So, any issues from that was on me.
When our food came out, I was very pleased. The lamb was medium to medium well and had a nice char on it. [Some places use old lamb that will have a gamy taste to it. My personal thought on the taste of lamb is that it is flavored like venison, but much milder. If it has a strong taste to it, I will not eat it. It goes back for a different dish.] The potatoes were a little strong with the lemon, but very complementary to the lamb. My daughter and I shared a salad. The salad was arugula with chopped apples, and mangoes on it. This chick did not notice that the apples, nor mango, had not changed color from contact with air. They had to have used an additive to the fruit to keep its color. So,….
How did the stomach react? For this chick? I did get out of the restaurant without any visits to the bathroom. That is usually my goal along with getting all the way home without a pit stop. Yep, I did manage that, but it was very uncomfortable for the rest of the evening. Today? The digestive system has gotten back on track. But the area around my zipper [surgery site] is tender and swollen. That could be from the potatoes or the fruit. I do not think it was hidden gluten in any of the food or any canola oil.
So, will I be going back? You betcha! I will just have to ask for a different salad or ask for the fruit to be cut freshly and no additives put on it. Maybe stay away from the potatoes? Those were my mistakes, not the restaurant’s.
I think that I should add that I was not paid to review the restaurant, nor given any recompense to share my experience. But hey, if any restaurants what to send me gift cards to stop in, I won’t reject the idea. Humor people!
Here is the addition from my dinner companion.
Let me start by saying that I am very fortunate to not be allergic to anything other than corn (which can stink if you are really wanting a soda, and you can’t drink it because of the corn syrup). But other than that, I choose to exclude gluten from my diet. Therefore, my perspective of restaurant experiences for gluten free customers is probably different.
First, since I voluntarily exclude gluten, I HATE menus that do not already have GF options noted. When I visit a restaurant, I like to see GF labels next to the food on the regular menus. I do not want the extra attention of asking for a ‘special’ menu, or requesting to speak to a manager to verify ingredients, etc. Now Sage Mediterranean Grill was delicious! I love Greek cuisine. However, the menu does not call out any GF options from the get-go. You must notify the waiter, who notifies the manager, who then comes over to talk to you about your options and goes to verify ingredients with the chef.
I am a low fuss person, especially when it comes to something as basic as the need to eat. I do not like attention being drawn to me and my specific needs. So, while this restaurant takes very good care of you after being made aware of your allergies or preferences, some people (like me) do not want to have to endure this process just to be able to order and enjoy their meal. Typically, I research a restaurant on line prior to visiting, and check out the posted menu to ensure there are GF options. In this day and age, I feel there is no excuse for a restaurant to not offer options for the ‘minority’ on their regular menus, as the allergy/intolerance/preference is becoming more common.
Would I recommend Sage based on the food taste, quality, restaurant atmosphere etc.? Absolutely! Just be aware that you will have to call attention to yourself and your needs, instead of having an easy, less fuss option to ordering.