There is a line in Sophocles’ Antigone that has stuck with me. It is a scene in which Creon seeks Teiresias’ advice regarding whether or not to free Antigone. Teiresias tells the ruler, “All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.” Now, I haven’t imprisoned my niece to reinforce gender roles or intemperately deployed the power of government in the context of familial conflict. Nor have I forsaken the bonds of marital and paternal love to preserve an imagined or preferred political order. But I like to think Teiresias’s advice is more generally applicable. Because, you know, parables. Right?
Anyway. As I’ve accrued some modicum of experience in my life, I’ve had occasion to look on my past with a more critical eye. By an large, I’m proud of the way I conducted myself. But there are exceptions. When one cannot or does not act to rectify past errors – to “repair the evil” – those exceptions have a way of blooming into regrets.
Having just hit a milestone, agewise, I think the time is right to come clean about an error I made early in this project. I went with Greg and Lemi to Koreatown’s Cassell’s Hamburgers, a bustling diner nestled in the first floor of the Hotel Normandie. I talked about how I didn’t feel as though Christian Page was reaching his potential with the burger he offered.
That review is, quite literally, the only one I look back on and regret. I like to think (perhaps self-indulgently) the evaluations presented on this Project range anywhere from eminently fair to downright authoritative. The Cassell’s review marks the lone occasion where I deviated from basing my judgment on the food on the plate. So, in the spirit of not committing the only crime, I went back to Cassell’s with Kelsey, Kristen, Nikhil, and Tracy. And now, I’m back before you with my proverbial hat in hand, to give Cassell’s the reconsideration it deserves.
The chuck-brisket patty was even better than I remembered. Flavorful, tender, and rich, it burst with juicy personality, courtesy to that nearly 70 year-old crossfire broiler. The garnishes were as fresh as I remember. Everything was as it was on my prior visits. I won’t regurgitate here what I’ve written before. If you want to read it, follow the link above. Besides, it’s not really my sense of the burger’s quality that has changed, per se. There are a couple of things about that review, though, that bother me.
The first problem is that I docked the burger for not “hitting its potential.” In addition to being a maddeningly vague and subjective feeling that I struggled then (and struggle now) to justify, it’s just kind of irrelevant. There’s not a dish that’s been cooked that couldn’t be improved somehow. We can’t judge dishes (or anything, for that matter) on the basis of what it could have been. We have to look, first and last, a what a thing is. That matters more. And what Cassell’s is, is a delicious burger–one of the best in the city.
The second problem isn’t one I could have anticipated as I penned the review initially, but it’s a problem nonetheless. Cassell’s stacks up much more formidably than I expected against the other burgers I’ve had since. When people ask me what the best burgers in the city are, this one always comes to mind. That’s got to count for something.
I get it. It’s not like I’ve imprisoned one of my nieces. There has been no mortal sin committed here. It’s not as though I got drunk on power and perpetrated some monstrous act of megalomania. I just docked a burger a couple points unfairly. But a mistake is a mistake, and if this Project is to be worth relying on, you all have to know you can trust me to recognize my mistakes and correct them as they arise. The only crime is pride.
Flavor: 9.60 / 10.00
Freshness/Quality: 9.50 / 10.00
Value: 9.10 / 10.00
Efficiency: 9.40 / 10.00
Creativity/Style: 7.50 / 10.00
Bun: 9.50 / 10.00
Patty: 9.70 / 10.00
Toppings: 9.50 / 10.00
Sauce: 8.00 / 10.00
Balance: 9.40 / 10.00
Total: 91.20 / 100.00