Sage Italian restaurant opens on Ambassador Caffery

by Mary Tutwiler

Move over quesadillas, the arancini have arrived. Several weeks ago Picante, one of Lafayette's premier Mexican restaurants, and my personal pic for best marguerita in town, closed its doors. It reopened on Wednesday as an Italian restaurant called Sage. The restaurant is under the same ownership; Shashi Gupta, who owns Masala, and who partners with her sister Nelam Gupta in the original Picante on I-49 made the decision to change direction from south of the border to south of the Alps.

"We were splitting our own Picante customers," she says. Picante on the north side stays open for business, meanwhile on the south side the decision to flip from tortillas to crostini is a return to a former cuisine the Guptas know well. They ran Boccaccio's in the Town House in the early 2000s, but were forced to shut down when the Town House closed.

Sage's Eggplant Boccaccio, a fried eggplant wheel topped with shrimp and tasso, pays homage to the former restaurant. Look for lots of salads to welcome the warm weather, as well as small plates like the fried calamari, garlic shrimp and unctuous arancini, fried rice balls stuffed with herbed mozzarella. The signature ravioli is stuffed with lobster and fresh sage, and tossed in a creamy marinara sauce. Veal Saltimbocca, tilapia in a lemon caper sauce and baby lamb chops round out the menu.

Sage is located at 3910 Ambassador Caffery. Open daily for lunch and dinner, call 993-8818 for more info.