“Michael Symon is trying to kill me,” proclaimed Jamie in a recent Facebook status. He went onto explain ‘B Spot two days in a row for lunch, please don’t tell my cardiologist.’
B Spot may not be coveted by area heart docs, unless of course you find one that regularly encourages consuming beef, brats, beer, bologna and cooking in lard. Nonetheless, this latest Michael Symon restaurant will do just fine. I’ve been there twice so far (even tried a salad – so it’s not all meat, all the time), and am personally thrilled to have this type of restaurant so close to my office and home. My first trip was on behalf of Metromix. Here’s part of the review:
B Spot, the latest restaurant from Iron Chef Michael Symon, is perhaps the one restaurant out of his collection that is the best representation of him. It’s a casual, no nonsense kinda place with a cool vibe, killer burgers and one hell of a beer list.
Food: The B in B Spot stands for: bar snacks, big salads (six total), bad a** shakes, burgers, bratwurst (five variations) and bologna. It could also stand for budget-friendly, because there is nothing on the menu more than $11, with most items coming in between $4-$8.
Those familiar with Symon’s perfectly-salted and crisp Lola fries with a hint of rosemary ($7) will be happy to see them on this menu too. Or you could top those same delicate fries with chili cheese and cheddar ($5). We tried the thick potato chips with parmesan fondue and rosemary ($7). But consider yourself warned—both the chips and fries are wonderfully addicting. The portions are on the large side at B Spot and you need to save as much room as you can for the main attractions—the burgers and bologna.
If you’re looking for that bologna sandwich Mom used to pack in your school lunches, you won’t find it here. Unless, of course, that sandwich was a beautifully sloppy concoction of one-inch thick bologna, fried, with Russian dressing, sweet and crunchy hot pickles, pickled onions and a fried egg. Or as Symon calls it, New School ($6). This is a must-try sandwich. All the flavors work so well together that you almost don’t mind just how much of a mess you’re making (which is why there’s a roll of paper towels on each table).
If there’s one thing you try at B Spot, make sure it’s a burger, because these are possibly the best burgers in town. Perhaps that’s because Symon uses only naturally-raised beef he flies in from Pat La Frieda, a family-run meat purveyor in NYC. It’s custom blended just for this restaurant and is a combination of 40 percent chuck, 40 percent sirloin and 20 percent brisket. There are 14 different burgers with a wide-range of toppings, like bologna (Symon says), pastrami (fat Doug), corned beef (the breuben), fried salami (yo!), flip steak (the philly witt), pulled pork (red hot), beanless chili (chilly willy) and, of course, all the usual suspects in terms of toppers. There’s even a veggie option, which is humorously called the Why??? (they’ll even add bacon, free of charge!).
We tried the Lola, his famous burger with fried egg, bacon, pickled red onions, cheddar and mayo ($9). Cooked medium, it’s a beautiful thing. Juicy and messy, this burger is ridiculously good and just may ruin all other burgers for us.
If you can possibly squeeze in one more item, the shakes, using Mitchell’s ice cream, are worth a try. Each priced at $5, they are extra thick and big enough to share. We tried the rich chocolate espresso with bits of espresso goodness. There’s even a shake with bacon. Take any of the shakes from kid-friendly to adult-only for $3.
Libations: Speaking of adult-only, the final B stands for beer with almost 40 different craft brews sectioned off from light bodied to tart and funky, to hop-driven and dark. There are also a handful of wine options.
Décor: B Spot was previously a Cold Stone Creamery, and the only thing remaining from its ice cream days is the location. If you’ve been to any of Symon’s other restaurants, you know each restaurant is beautifully and carefully designed. B Spot is no exception. It’s casual cool with its warm palette of contrasting glass and matte finish subway tiles, open kitchen and funky antler chandelier. One wall even features classic beer cans to make a “B,” kind of like what your dad used to have in the basement when you were a kid. But perhaps the coolest feature of this space is the structure hanging above the bar. Meant to resemble a sheet of plastic parts from a kid’s toy model, actual motorcycle parts have been split in half and arranged in an interesting collage. These interior elements actually say a lot about Symon. Even with all of his success, he doesn’t take himself too seriously and knows how to have fun.
Service: The B Spot does not take reservations and since people now come to Cleveland just to eat at one of Symon’s restaurants (this is a good thing), expect to wait if you want to dine during peak hours. And like you are warned upon entrance, the staff “already assumes you know Michael, Liz, Doug, the mayor and President Obama…” They will seat people in order of arrival and only complete parties. Also, keep in mind all food comes to the table together (though the shakes do come out first). In general, food is served promptly and the service is fun and friendly.