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Published: Wednesday, 8/25/2010

Restaurant Reviews: Treo Restaurant****

Heard the expression “third time's a charm”?

Treo, with its triple-threat menu — Italian, French, American — is a real charmer.

It presents simple elegance in an attractive old brick building (wooden floors, big windows overlooking the street and a small park) in downtown Sylvania. Owner/chef Michael Fletcher has built a strong menu, an efficient wait staff, and a loyal following since November, 2008, when he took over Trattoria Sofo from Carl Sofo, who had been in a serious car accident. Fletcher had been general manager.

His menu is neither as pricey nor as exotic as its Italian predecessor, but it's satisfying, and the kitchen is willing to accommodate specific tastes and diets. Five types of pasta can be combined with several sauces made in the kitchen, and chicken, shrimp, or spicy Italian sausage.

I began by devouring the scrumptious appetizer, Chevre Encroute ($6.95), a hot plate of goat cheese wrapped in pastry, baked, and topped with crispy walnuts on greens tickled with tangy Parisian dressing. But nothing leaves a sour taste in the mouth like being overcharged, especially when it's discovered after the fact. While writing this review, I checked my receipt and saw the charge was actually $9.95, for Brie Encroute, which isn't even on the menu.

Raspberry vinaigrette was a dandy splash for the salad of young greens with red onions, tomatoes, cukes, and croutons. Bread seems to be home-baked and is served with a scoop of unsalted butter.

Salmone di Ligure ($19.95) is delicious small chunks of broiled salmon on fettuccini noodles, accented with parmesan cream. The fillip is fresh parmesan cheese grated table side. A smattering of lightly cooked bright peas lent the dish a suggestion of that humble Friday standby, the salmon patty. Had the kitchen used a tad less oil, the dish would have been even better.

To the delicate thin-crust pizza ($6.95 plus 95 cents per topping), my companion added five veggies.

Treo Lasagna ($14.95) is not the baked rectangle cut from a cake pan. It's a soft mound of cheesy (there are three) marinara, modest amounts of pasta, and plenty of sausage and beef. Long, delicate green beans edging the plate were cooked to just-beyond crunchy.

The Pasta Primavera was a simple dish of noodles topped with green beans, mushrooms, onions, and peas, lightly dressed with a garlic oil dressing. It was good, but the $18.95 price was too dear.

There are nice wines and a busy bar just inside the main entrance on Maplewood Avenue, where there's valet parking. Nearby is a ramp and separate door for people who don't do stairs.

We sampled two desserts, both rich but neither worth the calories in my book: the ice cream sundae ($3.95) and Chocolate Cake for Two ($10.95).

On a recent Saturday evening, tables were full, and reservations are recommended. It was less busy on a Tuesday. But I'd bet my silk pajamas that the place hops on Wednesdays when all entrees are $13, except for the $28.95 bacon-wrapped filet mignon. (Entrees range from $12.95 and $21.95). Note: No coupons are accepted for this or for Thursday's half-price burger night (a half-pounder with fries is normally $7.95). Martinis are also half-priced on Thursdays.

Contact Bill of Fare at: fare@theblade.com.



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