Crop Kitchen, the newest member of the University Circle restaurant family, now occupies the space vacated by the Asian-fusion restaurant Accent. Chef Steve Schimoler and CROP Restaurant Group have succeeded in making the otherwise cold Uptown aesthetic feel warm and inviting using the building’s gorgeous, windowed dining room to create an open and organic space.
Featuring a menu adapted from Schimoler’s first Cleveland restaurant, Crop Bistro & Bar, this Crop specializes in global comfort food stemming from the farm to table tradition. In addition to keeping the original ceiling, Crop Kitchen incorporates some familiar elements from Accent, the building’s original tenant, like a sushi bar.
From the start, Crop’s “snack” appetizers make it clear that the emphasis of each dish is on the medley of fresh ingredients. The truffle popcorn is a gourmet rendition of the classic movie theater treat that is fragrant, flavorful and deliciously buttered. Basil and balsamic vinegar decorate the top of the popped kernels, playing nicely with the earthiness of the snack’s truffle oil. With such powerful flavors, this course is almost certainly too much for one person to finish, so sharing is recommended.
Also under the snack portion of the menu, the goat cheese dumplings are a highlight, offering up a recognizable blend of Asian flavors and vegetables like water chestnuts and bok choy. The tart goat cheese is an excellent choice to balance the slightly overwhelming taste of miso vinaigrette soy sauce. Most Crop Kitchen snacks cost under $10.
For the main course, Crop provides lots of variety with a menu that features everything from chicken curry to burgers to beef udon noodles. Of all these options, the chicken cassoulet is easily the largest and most filling portion. The dish is presented as a huge, piping-hot pan of white beans and meat that includes savory grilled chicken, tender pork belly that and a hearty sausage. Both the sausage and chicken are particularly good, but as a whole, the dish is unmemorable. From personal experience, this dish also makes for satisfying leftovers.
Crop Kitchen offers a solid dinner experience that splits the difference between the casual atmosphere of Ninja City and fine dining of L’Albatros. Soon to be open for lunch, Crop Kitchen’s menu seems best suited for a midday meal in Uptown.
Location: University Circle, 11460 Uptown Ave.
Prices: $5 – $19