New life for an old bank at Crop Bistro in Cleveland

Crop Bistro (2537 Lorain Ave., Cleveland, OH) is often at the top of must-dine lists in Cleveland, not only for its delicious food, but for its palatial setting in the lobby of the 1925 United Bank Building in the bustling Ohio City neighborhood. The setting is truly a show-stopper, and it almost seems like the bank was created to house such a restaurant. The transformation even extends to the bank vault, complete with the intimidating, giant door and padlock, which now serves as a private dining room  Crop is part of the Steve Schimoler empire which has grown to restaurants throughout the Cleveland area, all with some spin on the Crop moniker (Crop Rocks, Crop Sticks, etc). Crop’s menu features seasonal American food, with a twist, and due to its focus on seasonality, the menu is always changing.


A tip we received before visiting Crop was that we had to try the truffle popcorn as a starter ($7). Popcorn you say? Yeah, we thought it was weird, too, but it turned out to be our favorite app of the night, and the salty truffle-cheese topping was addictive. Other apps include modern takes on stuffed peppers and deviled eggs. We started off with a goat cheese bruschetta with wild mushrooms, a delicious beet salad and a wedge salad (M’s favorite) with Bibb lettuce.

Though Spring is arriving (sort of?) we visited Crop in slightly colder months, and the menu reflected the wintery vibe. Mains included both options for meat eaters and vegetarians, as well as a daily house-made specialty pasta. We tried to order from across the menu, and selected braised short ribs with root vegetables, salmon with black and white quinoa and shaved fennel, the pasta of the day and the pork chops. The braised short ribs with a balsamic reduction were a standout, and were extremely well-prepared and fork-tender. The pasta of the day was a riff on caprese salad, with tomatoes, shrimp and basil, and was equally delicious. Sides are extra add-ons, and our favorite was the fava bean and pea risotto.
If you want an even more complete Crop experience, you can try the 6-course tasting menu ($75) or the even more opulent 11-course tasting menu at the Chef’s table ($105). Sounds like a good special-occasion meal to me! We heartily enjoyed all of our dishes at Crop Bistro, and it is a great place for a special night out, or for entertaining guests. Crop is noted for both its food and setting, and we have to say it lives up to its reputation on both points.

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