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Parkview Nite Club Cleveland


I had not heard of the Parkview Nite Club before it was featured on an episode of "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" on the Food Network last fall.

How did this corner bar on Cleveland's near West Side earn a spot on the show? One hint: It's not a diner or drive-in. Yes, the Parkview is a dive, but it's a dive with authentic Cleveland blue-collar soul, reasonably priced drinks and some cheap, tasty and creative appetizers, salads and sandwiches.

The Parkview might technically be in the trendy Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood. The location atop a bluff overlooking the Shoreway and Edgewater Park is anything but trendy, though. The area is more light industrial than residential and looks like it hasn't changed much in the last 50 years.

Ditto the interior of the bar. The "wallpaper" in the entry is lacquered newspaper pages from the 1930s and 1940s. Inside, the walls are lined with posters and memorabilia from the same period and into the 1950s: Babe Ruth, the Three Stooges, Jimmy Durante, the Rat Pack.

The food, however, definitely has been updated.

We started our first visit, on a busy Friday evening, with orders of Chipotle Pork Tacos ($6) and Country Fried Asparagus ($5.50). The grilled flour tacos were light and crisp, lined with a layer of melted cheddar and filled with plenty of tender pulled pork, a drizzle of honey, shredded lettuce and a hot-and-spicy salsa.

It might be a sin to take a beautifully fresh and healthful ingredient like asparagus and deep-fry it, but the result was pretty satisfying. Just a little greasy and wonderfully crunchy, the spears came with lightly spiced chipotle-ranch dipping sauce. One flaw: The bottom inch or two of the spears were inedibly tough and should have been trimmed.

My wife and I split a Goat Cheese Salad, a bargain for $7. A large bowl of mixed greens was topped with a zesty roasted garlic vinaigrette and three goat cheese "pillows" coated with chopped cashews. The serving was so generous that we took two pillows home to pair with future salads.

I could smell the grill char of my Cajun-spiced Blues Burger ($6.50) before it arrived. My wife's Grilled Eggplant Sandwich ($6) also had a nice fresh-off-the-grill flavor, topped with roasted red peppers, feta cheese, lettuce, tomato and pesto mayo.

On our return for a weekday lunch, we stuck with the salad-and-sandwich theme, splitting a quality Caesar Salad ($3.75) and adding grilled chicken for an extra $3. The creamy dressing had a nice, fresh lime kick.

For sandwiches, we went with a Cuban Sandwich and a Smoked Salmon BLT, both for $7. Similar to a grilled panini, the Cuban was stacked with turkey, ham, salami and pork, and topped with a slightly sweet mustard mayo, lettuce, tomato and onions. The house-smoked salmon was excellent - surprisingly moist, a little smoky and not salty.

One suggestion for the sandwiches served on ciabatta rolls, like the smoked salmon and eggplant: I prefer ciabatta when it is baked through or grilled on both sides to give it a nice crunch. The kitchen lightly grilled the thick rolls on one side and they come off as a bit doughy. But that's not a lot of criticism for an honest joint where nearly all the menu items cost $7 or less. And before anyone scoffs at Parkview's three-star rating, remember, it is a comparison to similar establishments. We're talking dive bar here, not a restaurant competing with Lola or Table 45. My kind of dive.

TASTE BITES

Parkview Nite Club

Where: 1261 West 58th St., Cleve land, three blocks north of Detroit Avenue.

Contact: parkviewniteclub.com, 216-961-1341.

Hours: 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. daily.

Prices: Appetizers, $5-$7.75; soups and salads, $2-$7; sandwiches, $4.50-$7; dinner entrees, $6.75-$16.50; sides, $1.25-$2.50.

Reservations: Not taken. Large parties should call at least a half-hour before arrival.

Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard.

Cuisine: American bar food featuring mostly appetizers, salads and sand wiches.

Kids: Not really a kids destination, but reduced portions available on request.

Bar service: Full service, with excellent selection of reasonably priced draft and bottled beer. The wine list is limited.

Accessibility: Not accessible to wheel chair users because of stairs at main and side entrances. Call ahead to ar range access through kitchen.

Grade: * * *

Ratings: One star means fair; 2 stars, good; 3 stars, very good; 4 stars, ex ceptional. Zero stars: not recom mended. Plain Dealer reviewers make at least two anonymous visits to each restaurant and do not accept compli mentary meals. Read past reviews at



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