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Since its relocation to palatial digs in Ohio City, Crop Bistro has traded its coziness for in-your-face fabulousness. But despite the soaring space, chef Steve Schimoler's menu remains as enticing and intimate as ever, filled with impeccable ingredients, intense flavors, and innovative techniques that place Crop among the best spots in the region. Cleverly conceived cocktails and a comprehensive wine list just add to the fun.
Star chef Dante Boccuzzi has taking over the former VegiTerranean space. The lovely view over the Cuyahoga Valley remains the same, but everything else is different -- from the eccentric rock & roll decor to the seriously delicious menu of modern, seasonal meats, pastas, and seafood. (Vegans and vegetarians are not forgotten.) A snazzy bar and a lovely three-season patio add to the energetic vibe.
If you think everything fades after three decades, check out this mainstay of the East Side dining scene, where the seasonal menu of well-crafted cuisine remains reliably, vibrantly up-to-date. Summer lunches on the shady, tree-lined patio are a high point of the season; in the winter, several fireplaces make for cozy indoor dining.
Having worked at famed Nobu, chef Dante Boccuzzi had lofty aspirations when creating Ginko, his subterranean sushi restaurant that sits below the chef's eponymous Dante. As a result, Ginko is a paean to fish, most of it raw, some of it rolled, all of it exceptional. Diners seated at one of the two booths can also enjoy shabu shabu, Japanese-style fondue. Beer, wine, and sake are available.
Ohio's first LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) restaurant has drawn national kudos for both its design and its New American menu of locally sourced foods. Chef Jonathon Sawyer has a gift for making chef-driven fare seem both approachable and casual.
About as fancy as it gets at John Q's is a 16-ounce strip steak with a coating of cognac mustard and cracked black peppercorns. Other beef entrées — porterhouse, filet mignon, rib steak, and prime rib — are presented unadorned, all the better for you to enjoy their grilled flavor. The sprawling restaurant includes several romantic, curtained booths; ask for one when you make reservations.
Dark, intimate, and timelessly elegant, this manly little jewel box of a restaurant is the sort of place you suggest when you want to impress the boss, wow a date, or just remind yourself why you work so damn hard. The menu is crammed with upscale Italian specialties, including some stunning risottos and one of the city's finest long-boned veal chops; at lunch, though — pssst — the char-grilled burger is out of this world.
How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people? Go to this opulent Warehouse District restaurant and find out. The kitchen's heady creations are nearly as grand as the room itself, with bold flavors, savory ingredients, and a pleasantly upscale Italian accent. Hey, at least our dreams of the good life are free.
Mallorca, with its large portions of classic Spanish dishes and formal, friendly service, has developed a devoted following. Best bets include paella Valenciana — a generous portion of shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, half-lobster tail, chicken, and chorizo sausage in a saffron-flavored seafood broth.
Strip-plaza setting notwithstanding, this handsome bistro has grown into Mentor's "go-to" spot for casually upscale dining, with an eclectic menu that ranges from Kobe burgers and signature crab cakes to pastas and parmigianas. For those who like lighter fare, a selection of stone-oven-baked pizzas fill the bill; for those who like drinking, the on-site wine shop provides 700 or so choices by the bottle, priced at retail plus a $5 corking fee.
Svelte and sophisticated, Moxie is where you take your business partners to impress them with your good taste. The seasonal American foods, including grilled fish, savory meats, and bountiful salads, are artfully presented by professional servers.
Under the guidance of well-seasoned chef Brett Montgomery, this 20-year-old restaurant in the downtown Renaissance Hotel seems reinvigorated. Much of that comes from Montgomery's decision to highlight local products on his Med-American menu, an urge that extends from precisely prepared dinner entries like Lake Erie walleye and Ohio City Pasta pierogi to the cheeses, sausages, and even the maple syrup on the groaning breakfast buffet.
The former Baricelli Inn has been spruced up by new owner and hospitality pro Scott Kuhn, with a streamlined decor, a handsome bar and lounge, and a delightful menu of seasonal American dishes crafted with an eye toward local sourcing. Sunday brunch is a popular draw, as is the Wednesday-night prix fixe menu. In summer, the secluded patio is a delight.
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