Oral Pleasure

The burgers at Foster's of Hinckley may be as good as it gets.

Foster's of Hinckley
Like bed partners, every burger is different. And fat or lean, thick or thin, in naked glory or pimped out in savory add-ons, every one of them brings a smile to someone's face. Still, when we crave the kind of pulse-racing, mind-blowing intensity that only the most voluptuous burgers can provide, Foster's Tavern of Hinckley (1382 Ridge Road, 330-278-2106) is where we head.

We succumbed again last week, sneaking out on a Sunday afternoon for a romp with a well-endowed cheddar-bacon burger. Measuring a good six inches from top to bottom and weighing in at nearly a pound (when you count the eight lean ounces of freshly ground Black Angus beef, slabs of melted cheese, and what looks like about half a pound of thick-sliced bacon, not to mention layer upon layer of lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and mayo -- always mayo), these bad boys simply could not be more enticing, offering an irresistible interplay of succulence, aroma, and huge, hearty flavor that never fails to wring a moan from our lips.

If the $13.95 menu price seems a bit steep, remember: A $2 discount is automatic, the accompanying fresh-cut fries offer a naughty diversion, and the dalliance will undoubtedly leave you sated and smiling.

Bistro fair . . . Give the brand-new Bistro on 185 (the former John Christie's Tavern, 991 East 185th Street, 216-481-9635) a little more time before dropping by. New owners Ruth and Marc Levine (previously of Ruth's Market House Grille in Wickliffe) couldn't be nicer or more eager to please. But a recent dinner visit left us feeling more like we'd raided Mom's fridge than dined at an up-to-date bistro. Homemade corn chowder was decent enough, and a thick-crusted cherry pie had honest fruit flavor. But a pork-loin special seemed more homely than haute, with slightly chewy meat and watery mashed sweet potatoes, smothered beneath thick mustard-horseradish "gravy." At least the nearby Grovewood Tavern doesn't have to start looking over its shoulder just yet.

Cheap lunch in Chinatown . . . We found some great midday bargains at Chinatown's charming Garden Café (3710 Payne Avenue, 216-431-8518) last week. For less than $6, lunchers can score one of a dozen or so "business meals," featuring dishes like curried beef, braised pork, and an excellent version of General Tso's chicken, served with soup, salad, rice, tea, and a homemade dessert.

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