This 1920s Market District bank-turned-restaurant stuns with 35-foot sculpted ceilings, towering columns and gleaming marble. There are signs of the site’s previous life everywhere (the bank vault is now a banquet room), but Crop is a sophisticated restaurant with smartly set tables, a sleek open kitchen and chef's counter, and sparkling lights that erase any stodginess.
Crop serves American bistro food made with fresh, local ingredients, but so do a lot of places. The reason it stands out is because the food is so creative and flavorful. The tangy, salty Balsamic Popcorn appetizer ($6) is elegant, and deviled eggs ($4) are far more sophisticated than the usual picnic fare. Mac and cheese ($6) is another familiar favorite, creamy and soft with subtle smokiness.
Certain dishes get a little too ambitious, though. Pork Paillard ($22) contains all the right elements—gremolata, cheese grits, smoky black beans and bacon—but the falvor is more confused than complex. Simpler entrees, like the Ohio ribeye ($27) and the short ribs ($24), are better bets.
Reservations are a good idea; the dining room can get crowded even on weeknights. Or consider grabbing a counter seat at the open kitchen for a front-row view of the action and personal attention from chef-owner Steve Schimoler. Expect to linger over meals; service is pleasant, if a little slow. And bring a sweater because the space can be drafty.