Sage perfectly encapsulates the shift from stuffy gourmet dining to indie, chef-driven dining. The menu at this North Campus spot is most assuredly upscale, but it's also a ton of fun.

Sage perfectly encapsulates the shift from stuffy gourmet dining to indie, chef-driven dining. The menu at this North Campus spot is most assuredly upscale, but it’s also a ton of fun.

A bone marrow starter, for instance, is brought to the table in giant Flintstone bones, while crispy pigs’ ears are served atop curried mango puree, and lobster rolls are reimagined in eclair form. A trio of deceptively simple dishes—Ohio Pork, Ohio Beef and Ohio Chicken—are in reality high-concept explorations of each meat.

It’s all prepared by young, brash, tattooed chefs, and served in an exposed-brick space hung with edgy local art. Meanwhile, bartenders mix up strong, smart drinks. In short, this place is an antidote to the overwrought excess of decades past.

Sage falls a few slots this year simply because of some turbulence in the kitchen. Sous chefs have taken on most of the cooking duties now that owner and head chef Bill Glover has turned his attentions to the soon-to-open Gallerie, a restaurant anchoring the new Short North Hilton.

We’re crossing our fingers Glover has enough energy in him to run Gallerie and keep Sage performing at its excellent standards.

Photos by Jodi Miller