Blue Sage Cafe and Wine Bar opened on June 1 in Mount Washington in the Kelly Avenue space that was formerly The Falls (and before that Freida's Kitchen and, for years, the Mt. Washington Food Market).
I've been hearing about Blue Sage - and read about it on a few other blogs -- but I kept not picking up the phone to check it out. So, I was happy to hear from Ricky Johnson, the bar and front-of-house manager at Blue Sage, who filled me in on the background and early days of Blue Sage. I wish I had a class full of Ricky Johnsons.
The owner here is Matt Lallo, a recent transplant to Baltimore from Philadelphia, where he owned several restaurants, including the Purple Sage. Lallo and his wife moved here a few years back to be closer to their grandchildren.
Johnson, who was the bar manager at The Falls, said he's worked on putting together an interesting but affordable beverage program. In our email exchange, he wrote, "As a bartender, I believe people should get there money's worth out of a drink, and the beer, wine, and cocktails are all priced to encourage people to be able to try different things in one visit."
I feel like going right now.
Blue Sage, Johnson said will have 10 beers on tap, a changing line-up of mostly American craft beers. The cocktail list is his own, using his made from scratch juices and syrups.
The menu, Johnson said, is "global," which I usually take to mean no one knows what he's doing, but I took a look at Blue Sage's menu. It actually looks pretty good. I'd describe it as ... global.
"Dinner sandwiches" include a banh mi, lamb kofte and tuan diavolo. Main courses, which run in the mid-teens, include a tarragon cream-chicken pot pie and Thai chicken and shrimp. There are Roseda Farm beef burgers and Gunpowder Falls bison burgers, and a section of Persian-style barbari bread pizzas.
But my favorite menu item is an appetizer -- the Global Meatball Trinity. Two each Middle Eastern lamb, Vietnamese pork and Italian classic.
I actually do think I'm going right now.
Blue Sage is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Johnson said that lunch service will start sometime in July.