Sage, a new restaurant serving continental cuisine with an Italian flair, opens Friday on Broadway.
Owned and operated by veteran chef and Culinary Institute graduate Lou DiMauro and his former manager Rob DeLaurentis, Sage replaces the old , which had been vacant since in Sept. 2010.
“Ever since the old restaurant did go out, it seems like people have been waiting for a new restaurant to come in here,” DeLaurentis said. “Since we put that sign out front three weeks ago, it’s definitely created some kind of a buzz, because we’re getting a lot of phone calls, people stopping in all the time grabbing menus, grabbing business cards.”
DeLaurentis described Sage as a loose combination of two of DiMauro’s past restaurant endeavors – Sweet Basil in Harriman, N.Y. and Porchlight Grill (now Legends Steakhouse) in Midland Park.
“We kind of put the two together and we’ve got a little bit more casual, but definitely fine dining food,” he said. “We’re going to have more continental food with a flair of Italian – a lot of veal, steaks, chops, fresh seafood every day. Some really nice pasta dishes.”
Entrees range in price from a Grilled Chicken Sandwich for $8 to the $26 New York Strip Steak served on a sizzle plate with sautéed mushrooms and onions. Sage will also offer daily specials.
DeLaurentis said that while his favorite dish of DiMauro’s is the Balsamic Chicken – which is sautéed with Portobello mushrooms, balsamic vinegar and scallions – his partner is probably best known for his flavorful sauces.
“His demi-glace sauces and his reduction sauces are definitely his specialties,” DeLaurentis said. “He became very, very well known for his mussels dishes and some of his pasta dishes back at his old restaurants...The mussels that he puts out there, with the sauces and a little bit of bread, you can’t find that anywhere.”
The restaurant’s décor is bright and modern, giving it a classy, but comfortable feel. Photographs and paintings from local artists Dennis Pike and Greg Gerstler adorn the walls.
“We’re going to use this as almost their gallery,” said DeLaurentis, who commissioned Gerstler to produce a couple paintings depicting historic Fair Lawn landmarks. “They’re going to be able to sell these things off our walls and then they’ll replace them with other works as they go.”
DeLaurentis said if there's anything he's learned in his 18 years in the restaurant business, it's that you need a combination of quality food and quality service to succeed, and he believes Sage has both.
"Lou is great with food and I’m good with people," he said. "As long as you have a good heart of the house and a good front of the house, you really should be able to make a successful business...Our staff and our food is going to differentiate us from other restaurants."
Sage will be open seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. The restaurant is BYOB.