December 31, 2011

Lonnieburger Baskets: City View Tavern

Let's close out the year with a tasty burger review.

Or at least a review of a tasty burger...

From City View Tavern's previously mentioned awful website

Here's what Cincinnati Magazine had to say about City View Tavern's Big Ted Deluxe burger
  • #2 - City View Tavern
    The Big Ted Deluxe takes about 20 minutes from flattop to table, so just kick back and wait. We promise it's worth it. Because inside that plastic basket, next to a bag of chips (Grippo's BBQ, please), sits a most worthy treat: a hand-formed six-ounce patty, direct from Ebert's Meat Market, so pleasantly seasoned that a peppery sensation lingers on your tongue. Paired with spicy brown mustard, mayo, ketchup, American cheese, onion, chopped iceberg, and tart pickles, it's a drippy, smooth, tangy, savory masterpiece served on a light and fluffy Giminetti bun.
For now, I'll forgo an exploration of the horrible punctuation of the Cincy Mag writer and look at the veracity of the burger claims.

  • Man, they're right about the peppery taste to the burger. This is one of the rare, great patties that isn't just high quality beef with a little salt and pepper. This is a creation with Worcestershire, pepper, garlic, and a whole lot more - probably celery salt, onion powder, maybe a little cayenne - in the patty. The beef itself is tasty and nicely moist, but the flavoring mixture makes for a pretty spectacular burger patty, full of flavor and with a great, strong presence. My burger was cooked to medium and was right about on track there with a little pink in the center (sorry, no picture of that - once I started in, I wasn't stopping this time). The burger didn't have any crisp edges which - along with the correctly described 20-minute cooking time - made me wonder if it wasn't cooked at a lower heat than most burgers are. It was done but just not crispy at all. Burger - 9 

  • They weren't joking about the chopped iceberg lettuce. That always annoys me because it makes me think they order their lettuce in a bag. Then again, the kitchen in the City View Tavern is tiny, probably twelve by twelve total, so if they need to order their lettuce, I'll give them a little leeway.

    But I digress...The burger was topped with nicely melted cheese; American is the only option, however. No bacon is offered or orderable, and the toppings are presented as is on the Big Ted Deluxe. There is also a Teddy Burger offered which deletes a number of the toppings, but this isn't gourmet heaven where there are a half dozen sauces and a wide variety of cheeses. This is a burger presented as such.

    The toppings are good, and the spicy mustard really has a nice kick. The toppings are, however, applied a little heavily for my tastes. They make for a good combination sauce, but they almost overshadow the tasty burger itself. Toppings - 7 

  • They don't offer fries.

    I know it's mostly a bar that happens to serve food (a very limited menu of food), but how do you serve burgers without fries?

    Instead, you get the option of plain Husman chips or BBQ Grippo's. The Girl went with plain. Her mother and I both chose BBQ.

  • And there's the City View of the Tavern. That's The Girl's mother, my mother-in-law in the above picture. The view is pretty impressive, probably more so here in the winter (on Christmas Eve afternoon, no less) with the trees denuded of their leaves. The deck holds up to twenty-eight people, and the bent railing suggests that sometimes those twenty-eight get a little rowdy. This is a bar first and foremost. The inside is old school wood panelled with Cincinnati-themed, framed artwork above the rail. While we were there, the railing was festooned with greenery and Christmas lights which was a nice touch but might've made resting your drink there a little tough. I dig the place. It feels real (whatever the heck that means) and comforting. Beers come in pint glasses but cokes come in red Solo cups (and do get free refills).

    The City View Tavern is tiny with a front room just big enough for a pool table and a bar area with a half dozen tables. I'd happily come back for the feel of the place.

    I don't know how I'd feel about being in the bar when it's packed with Mt Adams bar hoppers on a Friday night, but the location - kind of below but still in Mt Adams - might help decreased that issue a little bit. Ambiance - 10

  • The burger (with chips) was $6.75, and the Diet Coke was $1.50. Tax is included in that, and because there's no table service (you order at the bar and pickup there, too), that means there's not much tipping to be done. With those two cheapeners, I'll call it a wash on the lack of fries for the cost. Cost - 7 
Other Stuff
  • Their website is horrible. Seriously. I don't know that it impacts this rating, but it certainly makes finding any information about the place a whole lot tougher.
  • The view is pretty spectacular, and it looks like they grill out on the deck in good weather. +1 
  • The bun was righteous - nice, fluffy, fresh, not doughy. Quality stuff +1 
  • It's durn near impossible to find the place unless you know right where you're headed. I tried parking in Mt Adams proper and walking around to find it, but that didn't work. You can't really walk there from the main part of Mt Adams. If it helps any, the place is below the Rookwood and the Celestial. The directions on their website are useless as they get you to Mt Adams but not to the City View Tavern. It's like they don't want people to get to their bar.
  • No bacon available. For me, that's a ding. -1
  • No fries either. I still don't know exactly how to handle that. -2
  • The burger took a legitimate twenty minutes even though there were only six people in the whole bar - including us. I can't imagine you'd ever get a burger if the place was packed. -1
  • Six ounces is a reasonable size for a burger. If I'm going to take away points when the burgers are ridiculously oversized, I should probably reward folks for making their burgers right sized. +1
Let's see where the numbers get us...-2 -1 +1 -1 +1 +1 +7 +10 +7 + 9 = 32 points (out of 40 in this case). That scales up to 40 out of 50. City View Tavern - 40 (scaled from 32/40)
  • Terry's Turf Club - 45
  • Cafe de Wheels - 44
  • Senate - 43 
  • City View Tavern - 40 (scaled from 32/40)
  • Stuffed on Vine - 38
  • Five Guys Burgers and Fries - 36 
  • Roxy's - 36
  • VanZandt - 34
  • Gabby's - 34 
  • Oakley Pub & Grill - 34 
  • Quatman's - 32 / 34.5
  • Troy's - 32 
  • By Golly's - 32
  • Wildflower Cafe - 31.25 (scaled from 26/40) 
  • Virgil's Cafe - 28
  • The Pub at Rookwood Mews - 28
  • Smashburger - 28
  • Habits Cafe - 28
  • Graffiti Burger - 27
  • Arthur's - 26
  • Sammy's - 25 
  • Gordo's - 20 
I would agree with that ranking. The closest burger to this is Cafe de Wheels, and they offer fries. They're also a lot more convenient to get to even if they're not open as long. City View Tavern offers a hell of a burger at a great price. Plus it's a reasonable size - 6 ounces. It's a place to go back doubt.

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