Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ridiculous Eats XIII: This Is Why I'M Fat

I haven’t been on the “Ridiculous Eats” kick as much as usual, but having had a recent brush with the limits of food-too-muchery, I felt it was definitely time to revisit the land of too-plenty.

The location of this gorging was Cleveland Heights’ own Cedar Lee Pub & Grill. Located about a block from the similarly named movie theatre, the Cedar Lee Pub occupies a great location. Inside the bar is simple and welcoming; a large bar is centrally located with seating areas on either side. The minimal décor is charming with little on the walls to distract and our two-person booth was cozy and comfortable. Cedar Lee Pub offers a solid beer list and hosts some great nightly specials (on Monday night five bucks will get you a burger, fries, and a Labatt draught!). At a glance the CLP&G’s menu offers standard bar food, sandwiches, salads, wraps, etc., but nestled in the center panel of the menu is a laundry list of some really amazing burgers. The “Boss Hog” boasts pulled barbequed pork and fried onions, the “Polish” adds pierogies to the burger, and the “Say Cheese” is loaded with three different cheeses, bacon, and tomato on toasty garlic bread. Needless to say, the Cedar Lee Pub & Grill is not messing around.

(not the actual clp&g breakfast burger)
While pouring over this magical list of meaty morsels we sipped out beers, mine a wonderfully bitter and hoppy IPA from Stone Brewing and Nicole’s a Guinness, the real King of Beers. Deciding was tough, to say the least, but knowing that CLP&G is just down the street helped re-assure us that we could always come back for more. So, when the waiter came around to take our order this is what we put in: for Nicole the “Horsey” burger, slathered with horseradish, topped with cheese and pickles, and accompanied by a side of Thousand Island dressing, this burger has a super pungent bite. Ordered medium-rare, her burger was perfectly cooked and delicious. I, after some serious deliberation and a desire for something dangerous, finally picked the “Breakfast” over the “Boss Hog.” While there are numerous burgers out there boasting breakfast options as toppings (the “Kuma” at Kuma’s corner, the “Jamburger” and Jam, and the “Cyclops” at Buckeye Beer Engine to name a few) the Cedar Lee Pub and Grill offers two variants on this theme. The first is topped with bacon and a fried egg, sunny-side up, a la the aforementioned. But when the CDP&G says breakfast, they mean breakfast. My burger, an 8oz. patty before cooking, came topped with cheddar, bacon, scrambled eggs, and a hash-brown patty. Cooked somewhere south of medium but north of medium-rare, the burger was perfect. The bacon the Cedar Lee Pub uses is excellently smoked and cured, it tastes exactly the way bacon should taste, only better (the only other time I can recall having bacon this good, like better-than-bacon-good, was at Kuma’s). The generous scoop of scrambled eggs was also cooked exactly right, in that sweet spot between runny and rubbery. There are breakfast joints out there that can’t seem to get this right so maybe the CLP&G should offer some classes. But it was the hearty, greasy, salty goodness of the hash browns on top that took this burger out of bacon-and-egg burger territory and into the Ridiculous Eats zone. The richness of the fried potatoes added a great deal of depth and flavor to the burger without overpowering the other components, more of a supporting cast member rather than a lead. Amazingly, I polished this burger off in no time flat along with the delicious hand-cut fries that filled the rest of the plate space. Nicole opted for onion rings with her burger, a standard, but flavorful entry in the onion ring category, CLP&G’s are good, but I don’t think they’ll be taking home any awards for them.

The Cedar Lee Pub & Grill’s big front windows provide a good look inside, and the bar’s simple, unassuming interior kept me moving down the street in the past, but after my extraordinary evening and amazingly absurd burger there, I think I’ll be stopping in more often!


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