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(US-md) A Wise Choice for Vegetarian Tastes

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  • AnimalConcerns.org
    Great Sage may not be exactly what Benjamin Franklin was looking for, but he would have enjoyed its chutzpah. After all, the menu promises not only health and
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 7, 2006
      Great Sage may not be exactly what Benjamin Franklin was looking for,
      but he would have enjoyed its chutzpah. After all, the menu promises
      not only health and well-being (if not exactly wealth) but wisdom. And
      not a word about an early curfew!

      Eating wisely inarguably has benefits, although sagacity -- punny or
      not -- has yet to be demonstrated. Nevertheless, there are plenty of
      good reasons to give an overindulged system a break with a meal at
      Clarksville's popular vegetarian cafe, and the hot fudge lava cake is
      only a minor one. The Indian vegetable cakes, on the other hand, are a
      major plus.

      Despite being hemmed into a shopping center shoebox, Great Sage is
      quite attractive -- striking and restrained at the same time. The room
      is L shaped, with a small bar and stools in the small arm near the
      entrance and a long, straight room alongside the kitchen. The ceiling
      and ducts are exposed warehouse-fashion; the walls are painted in
      spice-market paprika, saffron, turmeric and lime (the restrooms are
      spinach green); and the bold colors are ideal backgrounds to a series
      of full-color photographs, blown up to poster size, of indigenous
      tribes in India, China and Nepal.
      The entire menu is organic, and nearly all of the dishes are vegan or
      can be served in vegan fashion. Vegetarians (who consume dairy
      products and eggs) can have dairy cheese or sour cream rather than soy
      products, and so on. Several dishes are gluten free (optional), and
      some are even soy free (also optional). Even the wines, beers and
      drinks are organic, which is not nearly as restrictive or as mediocre
      as skeptics might imagine: Lolonis Ladybug Red Old Vines is a favorite
      from way back.

      In fact, Great Sage is part of a family of succinctly named organic
      businesses in the Clarksville Square Shopping Center, including a pet
      store (Bark!), a health food store (Roots) and a clothing and home
      accessories store (Nest), all of which except the cafe will soon be
      replicated in Olney.
      Salt is intentionally scant in this kitchen, which makes the diet more
      accessible to restricted diets, and generally easy to adjust at the
      table: The Thai vegetable saute, a generous portion and crisp-tender
      and topped with crisped tofu triangles, was betrayed by a too-bland
      coconut-peanut curry sauce, but the slightest sprinkle of salt
      restored the balance. (A little more heat would have suited the name
      better as well.) Likewise, carrot-ginger-almond bisque was a pinch
      short, although a bit of citrus -- grated lemon peel, perhaps -- would
      have cut the nut even more piquantly.
      The staff is quite nice, procuring extra crostini with the spread
      samplers and often playing Solomon to mixed-diet tables that can't
      decide between, say, the hummus and goat cheese with the roasted
      veggies, by bringing both. The only downside is that the combinations
      can be a bit predictable for a fairly limited menu. If I could mix and
      match dishes, I'd top those baked tofu triangles with the coconut
      spinach. If Ben could see me now.

      Great Sage 5809 Clarksville Square Dr., Clarksville 443-535-9400
      Kitchen hours: Open Tuesday-Thursday 11:30-9; Friday and Saturday
      11:30-9:30; Sunday 11-9 Prices: Appetizers $3.50-$7.99; entrees
      $11.99-$16.99 Wheelchair access: Good

      full story:

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