Monday, November 23, 2009

Fun Playing with Burgers at Michael Symon's Bspot

Today was opening day for Iron Chef Michael Symon's newest venture "Bspot" in Woodmere, Ohio. According to the menu, the "B" stands for Bar Snacks & Sides, Big Salads, Bad **s Shakes, Burgers, Bratwurst, Bologna (& Other) and Beer. I have it on good authority that Bourbon also counts. Once I received confirmation that today was the opening, I was determined to sample the wares at lunchtime, and hoped to lure some of my colleagues from the office to join me. Three office-mates took me up on it, together with Bob and our good friend Edsel (who was gallant enough to arrive just before they opened at 11am to ensure we'd get seats).

The little spot that houses Bspot used to hold a Stone Cold Creamery, which was not an eat-in type of place. Bspot  is cozy. Other than one banquette with tables that can be moved together, (or apart) the booths and rounds hold 4 people each (a booth might hold a couple more folks - if they were dedicated salad eaters). Since we had six people in our lunch party and the banquette was already occupied, we took over a corner of the concrete bar.

An homage to the "B" that is beer is on one of the walls.

Michael's wife Liz, who was running the front of the house today, also shared with us the reason why the "B" also looks a lot like the number 13 - because that is the Chef's lucky number.

Another wall features a blackboard containing the rules, as Symon Says:

If this is hard to read - there is a card containing all of this information at the tables and on the bar:

We all chuckled when we read it - our kinda place!

Looking out into the dining room from the bar, a condiment bar beckons:

It figures that the relish made from cucumbers would get the blurry treatment. Sorry.

Bob tasted one of the pickled jalapenos, and was surprised to taste that it was obviously house-made. I was not surprised by this; I would expect nothing less from the Symon crew!

While we waited for Anna and Bernie to arrive, I was impressed with the efficient service I saw, and particularly with this POS toy:

I'd never seen a wireless electronic POS system before - cool!

Returning to the bar, I noted the condiment racks (identical racks are also on the tables).

Also in the "cool" category - the communal paper towel holders:

Looking up, we noticed a collection of motorcycle parts forming part of the decor:

Looking into the semi-open kitchen:

Wonder what they use that for? No way to ask the Iron Chef, though - he was hard at work on the line:

But now - enough about the decor and the accoutrements - what about the food? Well, as Symon Says, there are no "courses" - food is served when it is ready; all of our food hit the table (or bar) at the same time.

Chips, parmesan fondue, rosemary

We shared these with our fellow diners and everyone thought they were amazing. Though the cheese is described as parmesan, there is definitely a hit of mild bleu cheese in the dip also. The cheeses and seasonings were perfectly balanced, and the freshly fried chips made a worthy foil. My husband, an avowed carnivore, declared that a serving of the chips and dip, together with a green salad, "would make a perfect meal." I'd have to agree.

Chick Magnet: crispy chicken with avocado, arugula, tomato, mayo

Kim, who told us she usually doesn't like breaded chicken, pronounced her lunch delicious.

Yo! burger with fried salami, coppa, hot peppers, provolone, shasha hot sauce

Bob's choice, like all five burgers our party ordered, was cooked to a perfect medium. I thoroughly enjoyed my taste!

Symon Says: burger with bologna, coleslaw, whip sauce, american cheese



Edsel and I both opted for Symon Says - it just seemed so appropriate for the opening service! And we agreed that it was an amazing burger, though I would have liked the bologna to be a little more grilled than it was - a minor quibble - it just got a little lost in the lusciousness of the burger. The cole slaw was fresh and creamy, and the "whip sauce" impressed even this mayonnaise lover/Miracle Whip hater. Because my burger was so messy to eat, I couldn't really put it down - I finally gave the last bite to Bob, as I realized we had both been enjoying our burgers so much that we hadn't shared yet! He remarked that as much as he liked his burger, he liked mine a little better - and I thought the same of his once I got a taste!

For a photo of the Thin Lizzy burger with caramelized onions, cheddar, mayo, pickles, which Anna enjoyed, please see Edsel's photo here. Anna and Edsel also ordered the Lola Fries, which are pretty identical to the fries served up at Symon's Lola and Bar Symon; I didn't get a photo. However, I could not resist snapping this version of the fries, from across the bar:

Porky Fries: pulled pork, whiz, pickled chilies

We could smell this dish from the pass as it was being finished - even though we were stuffed, it almost made us hungry again!

The beer selection is terrific - a couple of our party indulged, but the working stiffs stuck with water or iced tea, which was very tasty. Like Bar Symon, Bspot offers a glass of Pabst Blue Ribbon for $1 - I haven't seen beer for a buck since I was in law school! Other choices are also very reasonably priced. The wine list is small, with five choices, four of which are available by the glass at $6-8 per serving.

Prices are extremely reasonable for the large portions of incredibly fresh food - burgers range from $5.50 to $11, the other sandwiches from $5 to $8. The small room got crowded and loud (as might be expected)  - but it never got too loud. And - especially noticeable after a recent Cleveland  Food and Wine Forum discussion on the subject - NO tvs were in the house.

Bspot is a place to play with great food and drink.  Sam and Aaron took great care of us at the bar; I'd feel comfortable spending my lunch time there any time. Though the restaurant was slammed, the atmosphere remained relaxed and tables turned regularly so all could be accommodated throughout the lunch period.

Though the concept of burgers, brats, sandwiches and salads may not sound especially special - Michael Symon and his team have taken a seemingly basic idea to a very sophisticated level with great ingredients, personal touches, and the love of food that they bring to all of the Symon restaurants. I welcome Bpsot to my neighborhood, and look forward to working my way through the menu! Who's up for a brat?


  1. Just the sign alone would make it worth visiting.

  2. great review, sounds like a trip to the eastside is in order!

    About the TV's, I just read on the food forum that 11 TV's will be installed shortly. When I read that, I thought maybe they didn't install TV's to keep people moving.

  3. Great photos! Looks awesome, can't wait to go. I just hope there isn't too long of a wait.

  4. @Sarah - try to avoid the obvious peak times - we got there between 11-11:30am and did well; people were waiting for tables when we left a 1pm. Don't know what dinner hours are like.

    Regardless - its worth it!

  5. Sounds like a road trip might be in order.