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10 Mercer St. Send to Phone

Lunch Tues.-Fri., Dinner Tues.-Sat., Brunch Sat.-Sun.

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THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Credenzia's Oven Restaurant Review

: Executive chef Laura Dewell saddened our hearts when she shuttered her much-praised Pirosmani restaurant in 1997. We perked up again when we heard she had been brought in to revamp the short-lived Credenzia Village Bakery. Credenzia’s Oven takes it’s name from the two massive ovens that have pride of place near the front door, a copper cooking oven and a six-ton, stone beehive for baking bread, both built by the Woodstone Corporation of Sumas, Washington, which also owns the restaurant. Using fine ingredients and a palette of vivid Mediterranean flavors, Dewell and chef Jeff Konkle are not so much recreating Pirosmani but reinventing a scaled-down version of it. At lunch, rustic bread, baked in round, 5 lb. loaves, is sliced for sandwiches. Others are built on chewy ciabatta rolls fresh from the beehive oven. Soups are a joy. We eagerly spooned jalape(o and coriander-laced green lentil puree poured over rice, and we swooned over a chunky tomato soup infused with cumin and smoky pimento and crowned with croutons and fresh fig. The paella was less compelling, more a baked rice dish with seafood than true paella. A trio of pork chops was alluring---marinated in lemon, garlic and thyme, they were moist and didn’t dry out with broiling---and they paired beautifully with piquant honey-glazed onions and oven-browned potatoes. We suggest starting with the mezze platter---dolmas, tzatziki and tapenade---or cataplana clams with pork, then ending with any of pastry chef Lisa Cicconetti’s unusual desserts, among them: orange-scented Basque cake filled with armagnac-soaked prunes, and cardamom-dusted Turkish coffee semifreddo. If those sound too exotic, the cookies and a bowl of sinfully rich, velvety ice cream is for you.


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