David Wildbur, the owner of the just-opened Sage (2221 Alabama), originally wanted to call the romantic restaurant The Garden Inn. But when he went down to the TABC to obtain his liquor license, he discovered that the name "was taken, so, on the spur of the moment I decided to call it Sage." Why Sage? "You know the song 'Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme'? Well, I like that song and besides, sage has a double meaning." Sage it is.
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Sage's executive chef, Paolo Mascio, started his career at Pino's, the terrific homestyle Italian place that was at the corner of Hillcroft and Westheimer before it was torn down to make way for yet another Walgreen's. He went on to chef's school in Italy and then had stints in Belgium, France, London and Sardinia. Now he's back home and loving his new gig. "David and I really hit it off, and he's sort of left the menu up to me," says Paolo. "So it has my own flair and ideas and reflects my likes and dislikes. For example, 25 percent of my menu is traditional Italian, 25 percent French, 25 percent Pan-European, and the rest is whatever else I like, like the sashimi tuna, which many guests are ordering over almost everything else." Paolo's food isn't artsy, and that's the way he likes it. "The presentation is good but is not everything. I really want the food to do the talking." -- Paul Galvani