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The Crow Bar and Kitchen, OC


Swicks
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well said....

I am going to try and get in there for brunch this weekend.

Anyone try the fried chicken yet?

If you are referring to their cold fried chicken I have not. I wanted to last time but they had run out by the time I got there. It's on my radar screen

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well said....

I am going to try and get in there for brunch this weekend.

Anyone try the fried chicken yet?

If you are referring to their cold fried chicken I have not. I wanted to last time but they had run out by the time I got there. It's on my radar screen

Same here, they were out of it when I was in last time.

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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We stopped by Crow Bar again, this time arriving early enough (5:30pm) to snag a spot at the bar in the corner. I generally prefer bar seating when dining out anyway, but at a pub of sorts like Crow Bar it just seems like a natural choice.

Commensurate with our first experience, the food and beer were both great. I also took some time to look into their wine list. Most of the bottles appeared to be interesting or new in some way and were generally priced at $35 - $75. There were only a dozen or so that topped out above the $100 mark so they're obviously hoping to push through moderately priced bottles at service. I was happy to see a focus on Rhone and Burgundian whites. It's rare, with Rhone specifically, to see 6 - 8 bottles of white listed out as a separate category from the rest of the list.

Holly had Clam Chowder to start and it was a smart choice. Rather than creamy or gluey chowder, a light and briny broth arrived spiked with white wine and adorned with all of the deconstructed components of chowder. There were perfectly diced potatoes, a few whole steamed clams, crispy bits of bacon, and a light herb garnish. The overall presentation offered a light and jazzy version of traditional chowder. I only wish the potatoes were cooked a bit further as they had too much of an al dente center for my liking.

For dinner Holly had the Classic Hamburger with Sweet Potato Fries and I had the Fish & Chips. The burger was great. Juicy, seasoned well, and nicely proportioned. The burger wasn’t huge or overwhelming like some burgers at restaurants can be. I’ve never been a huge fan of sweet potato fries because they just don’t have the starch quality Russets have that allow for that proper crispy exterior with a fluffy interior. With sweet potatoes, the interior is more mushy that I dig, but it’s nice to have a bit of sweetness nonetheless. I really loved my fried fish. Three small filets of cod were nestled in with the fries in a paper-lined cone, served with a curry-spiked tartar sauce. The exterior of the fish was nearly mahogany brown but was delicate and crispy, not over-cooked or heavy. The batter was awesome and the fries, perhaps because they weren’t cooked in duck fat, were better than the first set of fries we ordered on our first visit. I liked the nod to British culture with the addition of curry to a traditional tartar sauce. Great.

We had the Sub-Pop Tart with Seasonal Fruit. It was nice and a cool concept, but there was just too much pastry for us. It could easily feed four hungry dessert orders. The pastry was golden brown, iced, and finished with colorful sprinkles. The Pop Tart was accompanied by a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I love the concept and playfulness of the dessert, but it was just too much and too rich.

All in all, it was another nice stop and I feel lucky we have it in our community. It’s like a larger and more service-oriented Father’s Office just off PCH within 5 miles from my house. Rock on.

R. Jason Coulston

jason@popcling.com

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p.s. - If there's any complaint I have about Crow Bar, it isn't about the food, location, ambiance , or service . . . it's really about the people. I just remembered how aggravating the customers in Corona Del Mar can be. Self-entitled, self-absorbed, and generally annoying. I won't go into the details about the people that rudely try to box us out as the bar began filling quickly after 6:30pm. Beautiful assholes I can do without, but I'll brave the waters anyway because the food is worth it.

R. Jason Coulston

jason@popcling.com

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As always, another nice report Jason.

I am going in for a bite tonight.

They now have their brunch menu up on the website, some awesome selections:

http://www.crowbarcdm.com/pdf/crowbar_brunch.pdf

Edited by Swicks (log)

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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Went in for dinner last night, some hits and misses.

I got there about 5:45 and it was moderately crowded but by the time I left and hour later it was getting packed and annoying. I sat at one of the high tables rather than the bar itself and I can definitely echo Jason's sentiments about how it would be annoying to eat directly at the bar with people jostling for drinks. This is a shame. I hope that in a few months the major crowds die down and it develops into a comfortable level in which regulars don't have to fight the hoards.

Onto the food....I started with the blue crab deviled eggs, just delicious. This was the perfect bar snack and went great with the beer. I then moved onto the mussels which can be hit or miss depending on freshness and preparation. These unfortunately were a miss for me. Primarily I think they were past their peak as they had a bit of "funk" that didn't seem totally right. Additionally the preparation didn't really deliver, it was a basic preparation with garlic, wheat beer, saffron and tomatos that sounded good on the menu but flavorwise it just didn't deliver, the broth (arguably the best part) was lacking that big flavor punch. Additionally the bowl was way too small which made it difficult to access the broth itself. The fries it was served with were however very delicious and served with a tomato jam and an garlic aioli. As mentioned before portion sizes were right on. I enjoyed two different beers, Hoegarten, a german white beer and a Heavenly Hefewiezen from a Pasadena brewery, both were excellent and complemented the food well.

So on the whole a bit of a disappointing second visit but mainly due to the poor quality of the mussels. I may try and get in for brunch this weekend as their brunch menu looks awesome.

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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I got there about 5:45 and it was moderately crowded but by the time I left and hour later it was getting packed and annoying.

Amen. My experiences mirror this exactly. Apparently, being annoyed by the patrons at Crow Bar isn't something exclusive to me.

R. Jason Coulston

jason@popcling.com

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Yes, well thankfully I wasn't sitting at the bar directly so i didn't have people pushing up against me trying to order Grey Goose and Tonics.

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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i didn't have people pushing up against me trying to order Grey Goose and Tonics.

Ughh . . . no kidding!

There's something to be said about ordering the right drink in the right environment. A high-end steakhouse? A nice cold martini. A Mexican restaurant? A margarita. Japanese beer or Sake seem to be appropriate for Sushi. A pub? Umm . . . maybe a beer? As in, they spent a ton of time and energy putting a nice list of draft and bottle beer together, specifically designed to compliment the food? Maybe you might want to skip the "Cosmopolitan", and go for a wheat beer.

R. Jason Coulston

jason@popcling.com

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i didn't have people pushing up against me trying to order Grey Goose and Tonics.

Ughh . . . no kidding!

There's something to be said about ordering the right drink in the right environment. A high-end steakhouse? A nice cold martini. A Mexican restaurant? A margarita. Japanese beer or Sake seem to be appropriate for Sushi. A pub? Umm . . . maybe a beer? As in, they spent a ton of time and energy putting a nice list of draft and bottle beer together, specifically designed to compliment the food? Maybe you might want to skip the "Cosmopolitan", and go for a wheat beer.

Amen to that, couldn't have said it better myself.

I think I am going to check out their brunch tomorrow.

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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  • 3 weeks later...

Had two meals recently....

Dinner, had the bangers and mash. Very good, great sausage from Fra Mani, perfectly creamy potatoes and the linchpin of the dish, sweet caramelized leeks in a light gravy. It was perfect with a beer on a cold evening, savory, warm and very homey. While portion size up to this point had been pretty right on I thought this serving was just a little bit too small.

Lunch, had the cubano. Pretty straight forward interpretation, great bread and nicely crisped on the press. I also sampled the fish and chips which were great as well, light batter and moist fish. The curry tartar sauce was a nice touch. The fries were good as always. A $2 charge for a small cup of tomato marmalade to go with the fries I thought was completely unnecessary and disappointing.

As of today they are now open for lunch which was delightfully uncrowded today. It is a separate menu with more salads and most of the favorites from the dinner menu. I expect most of my next few visits will be during lunch due to previously mentioned issues with the crowds.

Unfortunately I haven't made it in for brunch yet but I am going to try this weekend...

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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Hello all. I pretty much dropped off the planet at the end of December for a much needed break from work. During that time, we cooked. A lot. And drank wine. A lot of it. Bottles that made appearances include 1996 Dom, 2003 & 2005 Saxum Rocket Block, 1996 Krug, 1982 Chateau Beychevelle, 2006 Mollydooker “Carnival of Love”, several single vineyard Pax Syrahs from various vintages, ancient Diamond Creek, a vertical of Seavey Cabernet Sauvignon, plus magnums of 1994 Shafer Hillside Select, 2005 Orin Swift Prisoner, and 2004 Buccella. I know there were more. I've got boxes heading to the recycling center to prove it, but these are the most memorable.

But I digress.

The point is, we went to Crow Bar a few times. Three to be exact. Twice for dinner with different friends plus once for brunch just after Christmas. What can I say? They're doing good work there. Great work actually. We met RJ, their lead server and definitely the guy you want working with you. Request his section and leave a nice big fat tip if the service is awesome, which it will be. The guy is a book of knowledge and can point out nuances of every beer in their impressive draught list (including a few beers not listed he'll be glad to taste you on if you're asking the right questions).

I won't go into details for each of our three sessions, because quite frankly, I don't remember that far back and my mind was fuzzy as it was. I do know, however, you should definitely order the Coq au Vin special if it's available. And the blue cheese stuffed piquillo peppers. And the roasted bass with preserved lemon. And for breakfast I'd recommend the sticky buns and the eggs florentine with grilled bread and creamed spinach. And the beer. Lots of it. Glorious pours from rare producers. I don't know the spelling, but try the "Maudique" from France. I'm sure that's the incorrect spelling but it's pronounced MAH-DEEK and I'm not even sure it's printed on the regular beer list.

R. Jason Coulston

jason@popcling.com

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Nice report Jason, I am not even going to comment on that list of wines.... :blink:

Good to know about RJ, I'll have to ask for him next time around.

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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