6. Sage American Bistro

Story by Brian Lindamood + Photos by Jodi Miller

Sage may be the single best illustration of all that's right with the local restaurant scene. Everything I love about dining in this city is served up inside the bistro's exposed brick walls with a personality that is uniquely, deliciously Columbus.

It starts with indie-minded chef/owner Bill Glover, a rising star who can claim his place beside the other young artists and entrepreneurs in the city's creative community.

Glover's small, carefully curated menu of local and seasonal flavors elevates American entrees--Bistro Steak, Braised Pork Cheeks, Grilled Salmon--with spot-on execution and tastebud-twisting additions like fried chive dumplings, truffle-cauliflower puree or shitake-leek bread pudding.

Glover even makes his own ketchups, including a rich, smoky chipotle and a sweet, tangy blackberry. Those sauces take center stage during lunch, which is a fun (and affordable) way to taste the chef's creativity in sandwich form.

Sunday brunch is just as rewarding, transforming morning favorites into indulgent and unexpected delights (Sage Benedict swaps out traditional ham for duck confit).

Sage's intimate atmosphere is perfect for Columbus. It's a neighborhoody place in a city that loves its neighborhoods, casually embracing its eclectic North Campus surroundings with a welcoming smile.

My favorite perch is at the small bar, which offers friendly conversation with the bartender, a peek into the buzzing open kitchen and a full view of the narrow dining room flanked by local artwork.

The stylish setting would seem at home in any big city, but it wouldn't be the same anywhere but here.

Sage American Bistro 2653 N. High St., Old North Columbus 614-267-7243 sageamericanbistro.com Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday

The Crave 10 1. Rigsby's 2. G. Michael's 3. Kihachi 4. Dragonfly 5. Basi Italia 6. Sage 7. Refectory 8. M 9. Alana's 10. Worthington Inn