We celebrated Sarah’s birthday at Crop Bistro a couple weeks ago. They’ve definitely kept their quality up since the move from the Warehouse District.
The new location is in a large building on West 25th Street kitty corner from the West Side market. The space is extremely large and gives the sense of a large European train station or even a Cathedral. It’s a beautiful space.
When we arrived for our 6:30 Saturday reservation, we were told that a space at the chef’s table had opened up and that, considering the desirability of such a spot, that we would be advised to take it. We did.
Our meal began with a compimentary amuse buche, a couple sweet and spicy fried spring rolls. We very much enjoyed them.
I ordered a Lanigan to drink ($9), an excellent mixture of vodka, pear juice and ginger that tasted almost wine-like in its mix of subtle sweetness, fragrance, and sour / bitter elements. It went very well with everything we ordered.
We split the Baked Chevre ($8) for our appetizer, which was unbelievably good. The unctuousness of the well-smoked tomato sauce paired perectly with the tangy goat cheese and soaked rosemary croûton underneath. This is one of the meatiest-tasting vegetarian dishes in Cleveland and could work well as a main course. The portion is also good for the price.
For our next course we shared the Crop Chop ($7). The sopressata was a nice touch and elevated the salad above the standard Greek that would be implied by the other ingredients.
For our main we had the Fried Pork Chop ($25 + $5 splitting charge). The coating was thick and crunchy but not greasy. The pork was perfectly tender, and the chorizo gravy could have made anything taste good. The generous portion of tasty greens was enjoyable as well, as were the cheese grits. We (especially Sarah) don’t even usually like grits but really enjoyed these.
Our only real quibble with our visit was the “chef’s table” seating, which was less like the old Crop chef’s table and more like counter seating at Bob Evans. Our interaction with the kitchen was minimal, and our service seemed a bit slower and less attentive than at a regular table. We also weren’t really close enough to get too much of a sense of how food was prepared. This would be a good option if all the tables are filled and you’re still in the mood for an excellent meal, but we’d guess a regular table would generally be preferable.