The Crow Burger Kitchen has landed on the Balboa Peninsula.
The casual little cousin of Corona del Mar's Crow Bar+Kitchen, the Crow Burger Kitchen has a cohesive and tasty menu of gourmet hamburgers, salads, sandwiches and, of course, beer.
The restaurant's Thursday grand opening drew many locals, who gathered at the communal tables set up inside. The servers, wearing casual Crow Burger t-shirts, used iPads to take orders.
The Angels game (not a fan) was on the two flat screens inside the restaurant. We sat at a table next to the bar. Our server, Skip, welcomed us to the Crow Burger's inauguration.
He recommended the Green Bean "fries," which sounded a little weird. But he was confident we would love them ... so he marked it down on his iPad. How can you argue with a face like Skip's? My friend and I are light beer kinda girls (even though I love me some Guinness on occasion) so Skip recommended "Summer Love." Another entry on the iPad and off he went to get our beers. I would so be on Facebook every second if I worked at the Crow Burger with that iPad.
Josh, one of the managers, gave us a tasting of a beer called Damnation. I have to tell you, it was pretty good. We even liked it better than the Summer Love that arrived shortly after. Although we didn't want to be "those girls" and return a beer because it had too much of a bite, Skip again stepped up like a superhero (with an iPad, not a cape) and brought us two wine glasses filled with Damnation. How classy and cool. Thanks, Skip!
We ordered the Green Label Burger, the most expensive burger on the menu at $13.95. It was a juicy burger filled with fried shoestring onions on a buttermilk bun with a bacon butter spread. Yes, bacon butter! Proof that God didn't rest on the seventh day—he was too busy creating bacon butter.
The green bean fries soon came. And, of course they weren't fries, silly! They were snappy grilled green beans served with an olive tapenade dipping sauce. Very healthy and carb-free. The burger was served on a square white plate, very sleek and modern. Together with the beer it looked like a perfect pairing.
The restaurant decor is very organic, but modern. There is a casual vibe on the patio outside, while the communal tables inside filled up with the late afternoon work crowd. I've never seen so many men's baby blue dress shirts and khakis in one area.
The restaurant has a very New York urban feel with a sprinkle of Southern charm mixed in.
Other menu items I'm dying to try are the Cheeseburger Cheeseburger Cheeseburger (the John Belushi special?) made with black pepper cheese, cream cheese, goat cheese, fried onion, garlic mayo on a wheat English muffin. There's the spicy Double J burger with jalapenos and refried beans, and the Frenchie made with brie and dijon mustard.
You can also take charge and BYOB (build your own burger) with a variety of toppings including having it "hangover style" (oh yeah!) with a fried organic hen's egg, smoked bacon and cheddar cheese.
But it's not all burgers. The Crow Burger Kitchen has fish n'chips, breakfast burritos, sandwiches, fish sandwiches, chili, caesar salads and gourmet drumsticks.
Chef John Cuevas was holding down the kitchen, while a welcoming staff was out front attending to patrons. The staff is absolutely, hands down, one of the best in Newport. Very positive, friendly and know their B&B (burgers and beer).
Crow Bar's little cousin ... you're gonna grow up to be just as cool as your older cousin. (just don't grow up too fast, you look so adorable!)
The Crow Burger Kitchen is at 3107 Newport Blvd. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.