A master of … what exactly?

Crazy Mango at The Greene reaches too far

 By Brian P. Sharp

Photo: Coconut shrimp with sweet chili sauce from Crazy Mango at The Greene in Beavercreek

It is nice to have dining options when you are out shopping, or just want to head to a shopping center/mall to browse and have dinner. Better yet, if you are out shopping and need a respite or a little something sweet. Crazy Mango at The Greene may be able to fulfill some of those things, but I am not sure they know who they are.

After a day at work and running errands at The Greene, my friends and I decided on dinner at Crazy Mango. We were escorted to a table and offered drinks, but we decided to look over the appetizer options first. The inside of the menu stated “Internationally Eclectic – We are growing our menu one country at a time through our International Tours.”

At first glance, the appetizer options seem to be of a Spanish flair. Including things like Spanish patatas bravas, house-made chips and salsa, fried plantains and even Burmese roasted garlic and chive sticks. The appetizers are reasonably priced from $4 to $8. There were also half-off bottles of wine.

However, this is where the menu starts to get confused. The salad options start with a Greek, then a Thai salad, then an All-American and finally a fajita. Before I regurgitate the entire menu, maybe I am being too tough on them … but wait, the menu insert is a combination of German and Korean fare. Who are they? Do they even know?

Before we could even order, the original server was replaced by another, saying the first was done for the day. The second server seemed full of energy and information. We ordered drinks and decided on a couple of appetizers. I ordered Burmese roasted garlic and chive sticks – according to the menu these won “Best Appetizer at Cox Arboretum’s Garlic Shoot Out.”

My friend Kathy ordered coconut shrimp. The garlic and chive sticks are like long, thin spring rolls served in a wine glass with a side of Thai sweet chili sauce, served in a plastic throw away container. The coconut shrimp are large prawns, lightly battered and coated with shaved coconut and served with a sweet chili sauce, also in a throw away container. The garlic and chive sticks were full of flavorful creamy garlic filling that is nicely complimented by the Thai sweet chili sauce. The coconut shrimp was crisply fried and richly flavored.

We ordered a mixture of entreés. There is a section of this diverse menu devoted to wings and tofu, and another to wood-fired pizza. That said, I asked our server to choose from the list of pizzas for one that we could split to see what they were all about. She recommended the Crazy Mango Pie. Kathy ordered boneless wings with Thai curry sauce on the side. Steve chose the All American bacon burger and I chose boneless wings with Argentinean chimichurri sauce.

The entreés arrived – the first was the pizza, which is billed as creamy roasted garlic and chive sauce, pork sausage, pepperoni with mozzarella and provolone. The pizza was tasteless – the crust was nice, the cheese sauce heavy and thick, but no real flavor. I was kind of surprised that this was the recommendation. Kathy’s boneless wings were lightly battered and fried and the sauce was a mild version of Thai sauce with just a little kick. The boneless wings that I ordered were to be served with a sauce that was a robust blend of garlic, cilantro, parsley, red pepper flakes and red wine vinegar. It sounded great in print, what arrived however were boneless bites totally coated in what appeared to be a parsley pesto. The only flavor I could make out was parsley – there were no red pepper flakes and certainly no cilantro or red wine vinegar. I had to request a spicy sauce to give these bites a kick. All of these entreés were served with French fries that were to be topped with kosher salt. Again, nearly impossible to see or taste, and the fries were very greasy. Steve’s burger was full of flavor and cooked perfectly, medium rare,  which is hard to get in most restaurants. His burger was served with a side of Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce.

While finishing dinner, our server approached and said she would be back in a moment to discuss desserts. When she returned, I asked her to tell us the dessert options, only to be told that the oven was off and dessert wasn’t an option.

So, back to my original question: Who are they? A bar, a bistro or a mixed up burger joint? I think the time is now to figure it out. Additionally, I think it’s time to figure out what they do well and to stick with it. The sauces were great, and some of the appetizers very tasty. The burger was full of flavor and cooked perfectly. The pizzas could be improved, though, and the abundance of entrée options could be simplified. The owner previously had a successful Thai restaurant – maybe that’s the beginning. Stick to what you know! Crazy Mango is just that – a bit crazy!

Judge for yourself, though. While out shopping this holiday season, stop in for lunch or dinner and see if they can get it right. Make sure you get there early while the oven is still on!

Crazy Mango is located at 81 Magnolia Lane at The Greene in Beavercreek. For more information, please call 937.431.3822 or visit crazymangobarandbistro.com.

 Reach DCP food critic Brian P. Sharp at BrianSharp@DaytonCityPaper.com.


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Reach DCP food critic Brian P. Sharp at BrianSharp@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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