We're big fans of (Iron) Chef Michael Symon. He makes us laugh when we watch The Chew. His humor is at times juvenile, and he cracks up at the most ridiculous stuff. This is very entertaining to us (probably because I exhibit the same qualities). Motivated only by this fandom and curiosity, and a hangover, we took the 20 minute drive to B Spot, his fast-casual burger chain. Not the one in downtown Cleveland, since that one is in a depressing-as-ass casino, but rather one of the ones in the suburbs of Cleveland. Way out somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
Did I say nowhere? It could have been anywhere. We pulled into a complex that was designed in a boardroom, presumably to resemble Mayberry-in-Hell. Think "The Truman Show." Or "Long Branch, NJ." Or anything that refers to itself as "Shops at the Promenade." At least there was valet parking on this crappy, dreary, raining day.
We sat at the bar, which was about 4 inches too high, on these torture devices they think are stools. At least there were hooks underneath, so our bags didn't have to suffer on those stools like we did. All of those straight-back wood booths against the walls didn't look much better.
There was a nice view of Symon's books, and an old-timey refrigerator door. And a barrel. B Spot is on that barrel-aged cocktail bandwagon. I'm still not convinced there's much point to barrel-aged cocktails. Not even one bit. <aside>They always taste corked to me. More bad than good is going on in those barrels. History will prove I'm right.</aside>
Hey look there's a pepper/pickle bar. I don't know why anyone would put any of that stuff on a burger, but you should see the eyes light up when people walk by. Perhaps that excitement is more of a "ooooooo, free shit" excitement than anything. We did enjoy the free kimchi as an appetizer.
Look at all of those beer cans on the wall. It's an interesting collection of old cans, many of which are from long-defunct midwest brewers. I'm not sure if the beer that was once in them is anything special, though. But I'd be willing to try them all and be proved wrong.
The cocktail list, at first glance, seems interesting. Upon closer inspection, though, you'll see lots of vodka. Gotta give 'em props for having a White Russian-ish cocktail and calling it "The Dude Abides."
Not surprisingly, given the man's love of meat and bacon, they are serving a bacon/bourbon cocktail--just in time for 2007. Mine didn't taste of much bacon, and the stuff that settled on the bottom was much too sweet. I think they call that stuff "sugar." A coupla few more turns with the bar spoon might have helped.
The burgers were quite stunning on the surface. Very pretty. Shiny bun. Lots going on.
On the inside, though, eh. Too much in the way of toppings. All out of balance. And how on earth could it have been that bland? The bun wasn't too big at least.
Those onion rings were spot on.
Can't say we'll return. If I want a burger and cocktails in Cleveland, my meal will look a lot more like what I had at The Black Pig, because that place is not fucking around.
B Spot Burgers : 20 Main Street (that's very, very funny) : Westlake, OH : 440.471.8270
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