Feeling hungry for lunch in financial district AND have $30 burning a hole in your pocket? There’s no shortage of places that can take that $30 and give you some sort of food in exchange… Credo SF is one such place. I thought it was good. What’s it like, you ask? Let me virtually take you there!
The store-front is certainly pleasing to look, and once inside it gets better.
Upon walking in, I was concerned that I saw someone who looked concerned. And he/she (sorry, this person was ambiguous looking and I’m not trying to be funny) had cuff links. Once I spotted the cuff links I realized this person is probably always concerned and therefore I have nothing to be concerned about.
Some of you may be thinking that the ground floor is nice but not special. Well, I think that downstairs is where Credo’s magic is!
I was rollin’ 11-deep and knew that this place had a gorgeous basement dining area. As it was for a going-away lunch for a coworker that appreciates fine details, this place was perfect. The walls were clever yet not tacky, the bar was intelligent yet not condescending, and the tablescape was classic.
The basement bar caught my eye with its perforated metal “Mac Pro” look.
The service was quite memorable and I felt it went beyond expectations! First, I appreciate any waitress whose shirt says, “I believe in bacon.” But that doesn’t distract me from paying attention to her level of attentiveness and ninja stealth. She was always around when I wanted something, yet drinks were promptly refilled without anyone noticing. Another service person was capable of clearing an 11-person table all by himself in one fell swoop. I was impressed left and right. The experience here is better than places costing 2x and more. I felt proud that I had made a reservation here for the occasion.
The food itself is noteworthy but not exactly memorable. It fulfilled all expectations set by the ambiance and price tag.
Something I didn’t understand was the droplets on the butter. I put some on my knife and touched the droplet to my tongue, only to find it didn’t have any flavor and its texture was like water. I asked the waitress and she revealed that they only add sea salt to the butter, but the droplets were condensation from the fridge. Odd. But not negative.
I ordered the white alba and brown beech mushroom risotto with pea tendrils, in the “large” size.
It might be silly, but I thought the risotto looked soupy. Yet, it was good (not awesome) in every way. The risotto itself was al dente; this may be basic, but it is surprising how infrequent one finds al dente pasta around here.
The pea tendrils tasted odd by themselves, resembling savory steamed mystery greens like at Chinese restaurants. Fortunately, when eaten in conjunction with the rest of the dish, the pea tendrils tasted good. And the rest of the dish tasted better because it had pea tendrils. It’s that harmony aspect I seek! I was pleased.
The mushrooms were slightly limp and not soggy, which I appreciated. I thought it weird to see olive oil just sitting on top, but it added a lovely nutty aroma and flavor. Good tasting and good smelling olive oil is a pleasure everyone should discover! And it complemented the rest of the dish. This is the kind of food that makes you smile afterwards, but not the kind that inspires or awes.
I thought everything worked well in this dish, and every ingredient was thoughtfully and purposefully added. For a $30 meal, I felt like you really get what you pay for. Maybe even a little more, when you include the service and ambiance! I’d go back, but probably only for specific occasions when the entire experience matters. Otherwise I’ll go broke. I’m not made of money, you know… unlike some other people.
And the bathroom was sparkling, with no detectable scent of any kind. High five!