The Sycamore space is intentionally dim, the design simple with dark brown wood, exposed brick walls and deep gray tiling. The look is meant to mirror the focus of the new eatery from Harvest Pizzeria owner Chris Crader-a casual, dinner and late-night eats spot that caters to its German Village neighborhood.

The Sycamore space is intentionally dim, the design simple with dark brown wood, exposed brick walls and deep gray tiling. The look is meant to mirror the focus of the new eatery from Harvest Pizzeria owner Chris Crader-a casual, dinner and late-night eats spot that caters to its German Village neighborhood.

Chef and co-owner Bradley Balch bills the food he's serving at the 50-seat restaurant as worldly-influenced American fare. Because of the small space (he's working out of a 300-square-foot kitchen), the menu needed to be a tight list of easily executable offerings. This translates to soups, salads, grilled wings and guacamole to start, plus tacos with a choice of meat or fish, turkey, bison and quinoa-and-chickpea burgers, and large plates including barbecue Amish chicken and braised pork shank.

Balch shares insight into how The Sycamore came to be.

How do you describe The Sycamore?

We want to be approachable but stay fresh and new-a place where you can feel comfortable in flip-flops or a little more dressed up. It's not the old-man dive bar anymore. We're not claiming to be 100 percent local, but we want to appreciate it as much as possible. We want to cater to vegetarians, too. We don't want to be a flash in the pan.

What's your style of cooking?

I use a lot of acid, but I also try to balance flavor. And I season a lot. One of my pet peeves is bland food. You'll also see a mix of different textures. There's balance, but contrasting flavors at the same time. We're not going to sacrifice ingredients to save a quarter. Seafood is important to me, too. While at Tucci's, I worked with Honolulu Fish Co. and was able to fly out there to see how they select their fish and package them. Fish will be arriving here 36 to 48 hours [after being taken from the ocean].

How did you come to work with Chris Crader?

I was the opening chef of Elevator Brewing Co., [where he met Crader], then Barrio [where Crader was at the time as well]. We always talked about working together and not for someone else. We've been talking about this concept for a year and a half now.

You were originally going to open a Latin American restaurant. Why the change?

We wanted to broaden the concept and not do one specific cuisine. We decided not to pigeonhole ourselves. We wanted people to be able to come in two to three times a week and get an Ohio rib eye or a great bison burger. [He left last fall to work with Crader on a Latin concept they hoped to launch in German Village.]

Can you tell us a little about your background?

I grew up in Toledo. I moved to Columbus in '94 after going to Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island for culinary school. I worked at 55 and opened Elevator. I worked at Tucci's, took a break to open Barrio, then returned to Tucci's.

The Sycamore is open 4 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight Friday and 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday, when they will offer a small brunch menu with items like quiche, sourdough French toast and Snowville Creamery yogurt.