Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Last weekend we went to explore Creo: I'd heard a lot about its renovation as it replaced Mangia. (Warning: their web site starts playing some lite jazz as soon as you go there!) You can read about it in the Times Union. I am always excited when there's a new restaurant in town, and so I went with high hopes.

Maybe that wasn't such a good idea. While I was really impressed with the renovations and interior, the food left me disappointed. Not entirely disappointed-- and I have the feeling that if you become a regular, you can find things that truly satisfy, because some of our dishes were good. But I did feel quite let down.

All Over Albany liked it, while others posting on Chowhound seem to agree with me about the food. Also, while the interior room is nice and big and airy, the volume was pretty loud. They brought us salted edamame to start with. Sorry all my photos are so dark; it was actually pretty dark in there, and I should have used the flash.

They also brought bread. These are the potato chips we ordered for appetizer. They are smothered with a bleu cheese sauce. As good as they sound, they actually weren't that great. They didn't taste potato-ey at all, (or for that matter very bleu cheesy) but rather just greasy. Just looking at them, I could feel my arteries stiffening up.

If you go to the All Over Albany site, there are better pictures of the food we had. They seem to have ordered many of the same things: I think it might be the novelty factor, because the things we ordered are things you can't find elsewhere around here. I got the fig pizza and was really disappointed there. First of all, the crust was more like thin pita bread or lavash than pizza crust; secondly, the thing was covered with gooey sweet balsamic sauce. This confused me, because you can see into the kitchen, and they have big brick-style fire ovens, so it would be the ideal scenario for authentic crust. Then there was the overly sweet issue with the balsamic sauce (which Daisy Baker's also seems to use with abandon). I agree with Mark Bittman's recent judgment that balsamic is something people have gone way overboard with. It's now everywhere, the quality tends not to be that good, and a little goes a long way. Unfortunately it's overused. The cheese on the pizza was totally unflavorful, with no saltiness to balance out the sweetness of the figs and balsamic. And the pizza wasn't really warm, either.

My husband got the pasta with mushrooms, and this was actually quite good with homemade noodles and a nice mushroomey, buttery sauce. (I envied him) For dessert we got the creme brulee, which was pretty good also.

The waitstaff were excellent: very attentive but not overweaning. I had a lovely glass of prosecco; and the bar is really nicely done. Overall, a good place to get drinks and something simple, but, I'm sorry to report, it left me underwhelmed in the food department.

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