Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bar Cento

1948 W 25th St
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 274-1010

by Beau Cadiyo

I’d seen Inglorious Basterds twice in the last three weeks, and had a desire for European aesthetics on my mind. Thus, I met Frank Ciepiel at Bar Cento for happy hour. I had only expected to redeem a coupon that I had for a $5 pizza and get a drink. Little did I know that I would be in it for a burger masterpiece.

Bar Cento is part of the McNulty’s empire, but, unlike the trashy bar on Coventry well-known for admitting 17-year-old girls trying to meet 23-year-old guys (and vice-versa), it is timelessly classy, with dark wood, creative curtained tables and romantic lighting. Bier Markt, part of the same empire, is just as beautiful, with incredibly knowledgeable bartenders and a stunning beer selection. Frank and I ordered our food and drinks, and talked over our lives.

At some point I looked at the happy hour menu. Something about it struck me through the thin veil of red wine. It was only after deep personal reflection that I realized that it contained a $6 happy hour burger, the song of which I could hear distinctly. I immediately looked around for our barmaid, and threw my hands up cheerleader-style to catch her attention. She was a short, pretty brunette, who immediately threw her own hands up and took our order.

The burger arrived shortly thereafter, jauntily perched on an oval plate with a small ramekin of ketchup. The first thing I noticed was that they put the lettuce below the burger; on top were caramelized onions, melted cheddar cheese and tiny bacon strips. What appeared to be sun dried tomatoes joined the lettuce. Lettuce, of course, has a texture better suited to being shorn by the top teeth than the bottom, since resistance is better handled by the top of the mouth than the bottom. This is shown by the dominance of the upper bite over the lower, or the fact that vampire fangs are larger on top than on bottom; it is the natural order of things. I mean, what would it look like if the bottom teeth or fangs were larger than the top? It's just crazy talk; when natural order is violated, all hell breaks loose. It reminds me of the debate over gay marriage. Conservative Christian women like Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter implore Americans to preserve traditional Judeo-Christian marriage values and prevent laws changing to allow for "unnatural" gay marriage. Of course, true Christian women who believe in the concept of the natural order, or “traditional marriage,” should practice traditional marriage in their own lives, and that's something that very few of them do. If these women believe in traditional marriage, it’s only right that they should follow true traditional marriage values and renounce all of their rights to their husbands, including rights to property, suffrage, even the right to socialize with their friends. After all, that's what the Bible commands as the natural order - see, for example, Titus, Timothy, Ephesians and Peter. If they want to promote traditional marriage values, they should stay home, raise their children and serve their husbands as they should serve God. (Well, married conservative women like Sarah should at least be following the dictates of Ephesians 5:22 – Ann appears unable to maintain natural relationships with men.) If they believe in the Judeo-Christian natural order, they wouldn’t even be participating in the debate – they’d be standing behind the men who participate in the debate. If Christian conservative men and women want to bend the rules for their own temporal, corporeal desires and decide to practice non-traditional marriage, it is disgusting, repugnant falsehood for them to claim to be practicing “traditional marriage,” and disgusting, repugnant hypocrisy to prevent other forms of the non-traditional marriage. Is the 50% divorce rate somehow related to their violations of the natural order? Only God knows. All I know is that by violating traditional marriage values and concepts, they cannot deny that they violate the will of God, and they thus invoke and deserve the rebuke and wrath of God. Having never violated the natural order in which a burger should be constructed, I do not feel at all hypocritical in advising Bar Cento to put the lettuce on top of the meat patty next time.

Luckily, the wrath of God was not here invoked - the meat was perfectly medium-rare, seeping glorious cow juice into an above-average bun. The assorted toppings mixed in flavors without being overpowering, and though I wouldn't have put the lettuce on the bottom, the reality of its existence couldn't prevent me from enjoying and celebrating the burger as a whole. Together, the combination made the item certainly worth the happy-hour price of $6. A side of pommes frites – second only to Greenhouse Tavern – rounded out a shockingly good meal.

Frank told me of a problem he's been encountering, and we laughed as he said, "Maybe God is trying to tell me something." Our barmaid came over again. I told her that God was talking to Frank, and she looked at him, eyes sparkling, and said with studied nonchalance, “Tell him I said hi.” With this wonderful cheek she gave us our check and we walked out. As the cold blast of our first winter-feeling night of the year hit my face, I thought that Bar Cento is the kind of place I’d like to be a regular at.

Bar Cento on Urbanspoon


Bridget Callahan said...

Wonderful. Though I'd hate to see where the carb free burger takes you.

AS said...

Ha! I'm going to California in two weeks and plan on indulging in the In-N-Out 4x4, Protein Style, with Animal Style fries and a strawberry milk shake. We'll see...;)

EJH said...

I am DEFINITELY a regular at Bar Cento :) I think the fries there are better than Greenhouse--but interesting fact, the same guy who started Greenhouse was responsible for Bar Cento!

Anonymous said...

You've single-handedly convinced me that gay marriage is wrong, simply because it supports my beliefs that women might be physically capable of voting and driving, but they will never be my equal.

Carl Lewis said...

You Diatribe about traditional marriage is ridiculous. Primarily because the term "traditional marriage" was coined in the wake of the coinage of gay marriage. I don't know when it became popular to throw the bible in the face of someone who might disagree with you but your interpretation is suspect. Marriage is has nothing to do with how a person is supposed to act in their relationship to one another. There's no requirement for it. Your quotation of Ephesians is nice any everything but you make a statement with little to no context .

Eph 5:22 says "Wives submit to you your husband as to the Lord" how has Sarah Palin not done this? Also why be one sided about it? Eph 5:23 says "For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior." That's a pretty plain statement saying that Husbands should essentially die for the salvation of their wives. Now the reason I believe that this method of discourse has become popular is that it seeks to destroy the sanctity of marriage by attacking the behavior of people that are married which is what you have done. Following your logic you say first that Conservative Women (again I don't know why you chose to go after women specifically, also implying that women of a liberal persuasion don't belive in the bible) implore that we uphold Judeo-Christian Marriage Values. Then you go on to state that neither of them uphold these values (or fail to do so perfectly) and then apply a misreading of the text (a text that is filled with allegory the interpretation of which enjoys no major consensus) to all people who don't agree with you in order to discredit them because they are not perfect in what you think they should believe.

Then you so artfully proclaim that since people are fallible and not perfect they are violating the will of god and that thier "traditional marriage" is repugnant.

Marriage isn't a practice it's a Contract and Agreement you don't practice an agreement.

Your statement that 50% marriage end in divorce has been widely discredited and is another trick to discredit marriage. In any given year there's is a 2:1 ration of marriages and divorce roughly. The divorces that occur are not predominantly made up of the marriages that occurred in that year. and ignores the Marriages that already exist.

Your diatribe begs the question of why since you hate marriage do you support gay marriage? You obviously have disdain for it's "practitioners" so why would you support it's promulgation? Why do you want to be associated more with the people you seem to dislike so intensely? Does state sanction of same sex marriage seek to improve the egregious 50% divorce rate? Does it seek to decrease infidelity? What is the purpose?

I take great umbrage with your characterization of marriage because your advocacy for gay marriage only seeks to perpetuate exactly what is wrong with in institution. Love. Marriage is not about Love. It's about Children. Which means that if you don't get married with the benefit of children in mind I don't think there's any point. Ultimately I don't care about how you feel Straight or Gay. So that also means that I would support Marriage among same sex couples if it were for the benefit of children.

What sickens me is that this debate over marriage has become one of how people feel. As if that's a good reason to make law. It may not be apparent to you but it is apparent to my family and I, the result of laws made based on feelings absent any evidence. Rockefeller law, Blue Laws, and Cabaret Laws were made precisely because of feeling. White people didn't want Black people Congregating that's why those laws were passed.

Anyway In closing the burgers at Bar Cento are amazing. But it's the Fries!!! sadly they don't make a Fry sandwich.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AS said...

To Anonymous:

Your comments are not going to be posted. Deal with it.

Yours truly and sincerely forever, etc.,

AS said...

Carl -

Thanks for taking the time to respond! I wasn't able to understand everything through the poetically capitalized, strangely punctuated paragraphs above, but I think that your main criticisms are:

1) Men who oppose gay marriage should also be held to the same biblical standards that women are, and are similarly hypocrites;

2) I hate marriage;

3) That marriage is a contractual relationship;

4) Marriage is not about love or anything else; it is about children;

5) Drug laws, alcohol laws and stripper laws were all passed to stop black people from doing drugs, alcohol and frequenting strip clubs.

Addressing your points:

1) Yes, men should be held to the same standards as women. If they decide to use the Bible to justify their arguments, then they should first look to the beam in their own eyes before they attack the mote in their neighbors' eyes. This brings me to hypocrisy:

2) I don't hate marriage - I hate hypocrisy. If people want to get married, fine - they should be able to do so. However, when they believe that certain standards should be met for marriage, use a religious text to support those claims, don't meet the standards themselves and then make meaningless or nonsensical argue with increasingly shrill and hysterical voices in order to hide their own weaknesses, I think they should be called out on it.

3) If marriage is a contractual relationship, then I'm not sure why gay people wouldn't be able to get married.

4) If marriage is about "children," one would expect that laws would be passed requiring children to only be born and raised by married couples. One would also expect that only children raised by married couples would succeed in life, and that children raised by married couples would be guaranteed to succeed, and that marriages would result in happiness between couples and result in happy, well-adjusted children. You have a pretty broad grasp of statistics; I'm not sure why you didn't cite to these studies.

5) Whites, Asians, Latinos and Aboriginal peoples the world over do drugs, drink alcohol and go to strip clubs. I'm not sure why you singled out people of African descent for participating in these activities.

I'm really digging some of the other sentences - for example, "Marriage is has nothing to do with how a person is supposed to act in their relationship to one another. There's no requirement for it." I...well, I'm not sure what that means. But it's pretty cool.


Yours sincerely and forever, etc. -