Published Nov 20th, 2012

By Steven Sandor

Sage Advice

Bet it all on red at the River Cree Casino's fine dining restaurant

Upon entering Sage, you’re greeted by a large ice tub keeping bottles of Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque and Dom Perignon cool. After all, this is the jewel restaurant of the River Cree Resort and Casino, and why not have some bubbly on the ready in case a big winner strolls in?

Despite the sleek, golden decor from when it opened in 2006, there are hints of classic steak joints — right down to the starters’ list.  Open the meal with a large knife-and-fork caesar salad or tangy French onion soup. But the takes on these dishes are decidedly modern. The soup’s generous portion of melted gruyére cheese makes it wonderful comfort food for a winter evening, or if you’re on a cold streak at the slots.

Of course, the steak is the main feature here, and the striploin that came to our table was perfectly cooked, seasoned and smothered in a pearl onion reduction, that was quite a bit sweeter than you’d expect from a steak sauce. But, combined with the seasoning, it made for a tasty combination.

For those looking for something other than red meat, the chicken breast is plump but not dry. The salt-crusted skin offers a nice crunch. A lot of times, when the skin texture is just right, the chicken is dry inside. But that’s not the case here, which is a testament to the refined technique of executive chef Christophe Ithurritze, who formerly oversaw the pastry operations of Wolfgang Puck’s five Las Vegas restaurants.

Finish the meal off with an oven-baked apple. An entire apple is cored, baked in honey and orange glaze, then filled with vanilla cream. It’s just what you need after you’ve polished off a few days’ worth of red meat in a single sitting. (Winterburn Road and Whitemud Drive, 780-930-2636) 

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