Creo – Albany, NY
I recently moved to the western side of Albany. It’s technically Altamont, but everybody swears it’s Guilderland. If I walk 100 feet away, people start calling it Schenectady. Whatever. We recently were going to hang out with some friends at our new place and wanted to convene on this side of town for dinner before showing off the new place.
The name “Creo” bounced around a few times. I had never eaten there. Actually, I did eat there, technically, about 9 years ago, when it was Mangia, but it has since changed. I took a look at the dinner menu online, found a number of things that sounded appealing to me, and agreed to eat there.
We met with our friends at 6pm on a Saturday evening (parking no issue in Stuyvesant Plaza), and the restaurant had steady business. As we were sitting there, as I got a chance to look at the menu more, my eyes were bigger than my stomach, and I decided to order a few things, both to share with others and to devour on my own.
As an appetizer, I ordered rock shrimp.
The dish came, as advertised with a Chipotle tartar sauce and a radish-jicama slaw. This dish fell a little flat. The shrimp tasted great, but the batter was unseasoned, and the fried product was unseasoned after being fried, so the flavors were fairly muted. The slaw was forgettable, but the dipping sauce was pleasant and tasty.
My choice of main course was decided before I even got to the restaurant. When I saw “Pork Porterhouse – Adobo spice rubbed, horseradish chimichurri, apple quinoa,” I was sold on this dish. I love pork chops (“Porterhouse” being a creative term for this), I love horseradish, and I think quinoa is divine. And that’s exactly what I ordered.
The quinoa was excellent, sweet and earthy. I didn’t really know what the deal was with the salad, but the portion was otherwise modest. Although you can’t tell from the image, they gave me a double thick pork chop, which was huge, but would be challenging to cook evenly. And that was the issue I had with the dish. All of the flavors were fantastic, but the pork was overcooked, through and through. You can see the deep char on the pork in the above image, well, where there’s no sauce on it. Luckily, I do not mind a well, well done pork chop, so I enjoyed as much as I could at the restaurant and took the rest to go.
Well because I also ordered some onion rings for the table, Tony Soprano style.
There was nothing great about the onion rings. There was nothing bad about them. Maybe they were a little on the oily and underseasoned side, but they’re onion rings, and steak cut onion rings at that. What kind of animal would complain about that?
One thing I’d like to comment on was my friend’s dish. He ordered “Filetto di Pomodoro – Fettucini, San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil” which came out looking like a plate of pasta swimming in a thin, watery tomato sauce. But I’d like to point out that, while my friend expected a modest or at least moderate amount of mozzarella in the dish, it came as a garnish in an amount equivalent to a thin slice of lemon.
We did have a good time at the dinner, and, with a menu as diverse as they have, it is possible to please all palates. Despite the prices being on the high side, I would recommend to not set your expectations too high, but to try some things and see what you think.