At the invitation of Elaine Cicora, who is now in charge of communications for Crop Bistro, I met her for lunch yesterday. Not only was it nice to finally meet her in person and talk food, it was an absolutely beautiful day to enjoy lunch outside downtown. Makes me miss living and working down there, when I would constantly sit outside to people watch and enjoy the city.
Before ordering, Elaine shared the new fall dinner menu which debuts this week. This is just another reason why fall is my absolute favorite season – the flavors and food combinations are better now than any other time of the year.
Tempting selections include:
*brown butter gnocchi and squash with hazelnut brittle
*Ohio apple and Amish smoked cheddar flatbread
*adobo park farms roast chicken with pepitas and pumpkin hash
*grilled pork loin with apple turnover and cobb smoked bacon brule
As for Elaine’s favorite dish on the menu, that would be the seared Tasmanian salmon, scallion marmalada, baby bok choy and wasabi soy gastrique, which is a syrup-like reduction.
As for our lunch, I went with Elaine’s recommendation and ordered the seared scallop appetizer with the polenta croutons and arugula which is surrounded by a sauce made from lobster stock with tarragon, cream and corn. I also tried the baby spinach salad with stone fruit and lemon Dijon vinaigrette.
Before lunch was served, we were treated to a small taste of chef Wilson Haugh’s latest soup creation: butternut squash with lobster broth and fried leeks. This soup was wonderful, a good mix of sweet and savory with nice texture.
As for the rest of my meal, I enjoyed the scallops best. While the salad was good, there wasn’t anything extraordinary about it. The scallops, on the other hand, were outstanding, especially with the crunchy croutons and well-balanced sauce. And the portion was ideal for lunch, too. Two good-sized scallops atop the croutons. Add a small salad or soup and you are perfectly full.
Since opening over a year ago, it’s clear that chef Steve Schimoler and his wife Jackie have created a truly wonderful and fun dining experience in our city. And Schimoler’s not stopping there. He is still moving forward with his frozen food line for Target and later this year, his local crop initiative will have its national roll out.