Since we were going to be in downtown Cleveland for a meeting around lunchtime, we decided to head around the corner from our meeting location and have lunch at Crop Bistro & Bar. Crop is housed in a former 1920’s bank, and the space has been restored such that our lunch felt like a trip to the museum, but tastier.

Ceiling and Painting Over the Bar
Ceiling and fresco over the bar

It’s a wide-open, ornate room, with a coffered ceiling and giant green marble columns that stand like sentinels around the former bank lobby. Preservation Nation (hi, Sarah) posted an article about the history of the building (with much better photos than I took today. The bank vault is even a private dining room!

Giant windows hang over the dining area
Giant windows hang over the dining area
A better view of the ceiling (and a better representation of the color)
A better view of the ceiling (and a better representation of the color)
The chef's table...where diners can enjoy
The chef’s table…where diners can enjoy watching the cooks create the magic that ends up on the plates. Seats up to 12 lucky people

Not only was the space breathtaking, but the food was outstanding. Chef/Owner Steve Schimoler envisioned the space as a culinary laboratory, featuring fresh seasonal flavors from local and artisan purveyors. The lunch menu is wonderfully varied, and very reasonably priced. I managed to have a fantastic lunch for less than $17, including tip.

Salmon Over a Greens Salad
Salmon Over a Greens Salad – lightly dressed with a sherry vinagrette. Not my lunch, but still looked delicious.
Willie Bird Smoked Turkey Sandwich - Smoked Turkey, Amish Cheddar, Cranberry Chutney, Herb Aioli, Open faced Corn Bread Served with a cold Israeli couscous salad and some lightly dressed greens
Willie Bird Smoked Turkey Sandwich – Smoked Turkey, Amish Cheddar, Cranberry Chutney, Herb Aioli, Open faced Corn Bread. Served with a cold Israeli couscous salad and some lightly dressed greens

My lunch, above, was pretty amazing. Smoky turkey, aged cheese and a tart cranberry sauce, piled high on top of a thick piece of crispy-edged cornbread smeared. So delicious. The side of couscous was perfect – pearls of starchy tri-color Israeli couscous, mixed with a tiny pieces of crisp green peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and onions, tossed in a bright vinaigrette. Definitely something I’m going to try to duplicate at home.

Cleveland.com named Crop Bistro to its A-List of the Top 100 Restaurants in 2014.

Crop’s menu reflects chef and co-owner Steve Schimoler’s culinary imagination and joyful sense of experimentation

I concur. Can’t wait to go back.

Related: Cleveland was just ranked 7th in Time.com’s ‘Best Food Cities’ in America survey. I really gotta get busy.

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