Everybody needs a night out with their friends to catch up and just have fun. When my friends Julie and Lindsay and I were looking for a place to do just that, I was quick to suggest Crop.
I have been wanting to try Crop Bistro since walking by it repeatedly when shopping at the West Side Market. I loved seeing the space transformed from a dusty old bank into a majestic dining destination.
But does the food match the space? That's a lofty goal and it comes very close.
After hearing so much about it, we knew that we had to try the balsamic popcorn. It is a unique incarnation of everyone's favorite movie theater treat. I especially loved the sun dried tomato slivers and fresh basil chiffonade. We gobbled it up quickly and that was a good thing because it does get soggy after sitting for a while. ($6)
We also decided to try the chile deviled eggs. They were a kicked up version of a pot luck staple. I really loved the crisp prosciutto and the balsamic drizzle. The presentation was beautiful and the balsamic really added a nice punch of flavor. We tried to figure out what the pink sauce was but we never did. It was pretty but didn't have much flavor. One egg each was a nice starter and was a rare value at $4.
When we finally placed our orders for our main course, we received a basket of warm bread (yay!) and some of the best damn butter I've ever eaten. OMG the flavor was amazing. (black pepper and nutmeg?) Unique, delicious and huge bonus points for serving both the bread and butter at the appropriate temperatures. We contemplated eating the butter with a spoon...but thankfully there was plenty of bread to keep us from embarrassing ourselves.
I had been checking out the menu online for weeks and was disappointed that the chicken and waffles and cherry chipotle BBQ ribs were taken off the menu just a few days ago. Since I've been craving a good steak literally for months, I decided to veer far away from my more adventurous habits and order the Ohio Ribeye ($27.) The brussels sprouts and Sunday supper mashed potatoes helped me with my decision. While the flavors of everything were delicious, I felt that the sprouts were over-cooked as was my steak. What a shame! I ordered the steak medium and it was barely pink inside. I didn't want to delay the meal so I decided to eat it instead of sending it back. The potatoes were my favorite element of the dish but unfortunately my quest for a truly fabulous steak continues.
Lindsay ordered the duck duck chicken. She was nice enough to share a bite of the seared breast and the hash. I would have loved the hash with my steak and the fried egg was a nice touch. Yum!
I forgot to snap a picture of Julie's entree - the pork paillard with cheesy grits, smokey black beans and bacon. You'll have to visit her blog Wearing Mascara to see that one.
Thankfully my girls like to EAT! We decided to split two gorgeous desserts:
1. Waffles and vanilla ice cream with cherry compote, lemon zest and whipped cream. The waffles were crispy and warm. I would have loved twice as much ice cream and half as much whipped cream. The sour cherries were the perfect compliment and thankfully there was a nice amount on the plate. ($8)
2. Pretzel Un-logic which is like a chocolate cream pie that went to heaven. The pretzel crust held chocolate and malted milk creams with a pretzel tuile. The tuile was way more than just a pretty garnish and really added to the dessert. I could have eaten several of these crispy wafers with coffee as dessert and been very happy. ($8)
Overall, I would recommend Crop and look forward to a return visit for the Cleveland International Film Fest West Side Story film feast fundraiser later today. I hope that we get a tour of the vault on the lower level because we forgot to ask last night.
If the prices are a little steep for you, check them out for their Thursday Get-Cropped Happy Hour. From 5-7pm they have select cocktails and apps for $5 each.
After you get over ogling the gorgeous space, you'll be busy admiring and savoring the food. It is artfully presented and tasty too. Few restaurants have the benefit of such a unique and magnificent building to showcase their food. Chef Steve Schimoler rises to the challenge and has made Crop a Must Do dining experience.