THE CROW BAR, Corona del Mar
The Crow Bar’s Executive Chef John Cuevas has a knack for creating down-to-earth comfort food dishes that flirt with a fine-dining sensibility. Having graced the kitchens at the Montage (both in Laguna Beach and Beverly Hills), he knows how to pinpoint the very best ingredients and use them in ways that are irresistible.
I stopped by The Crow Bar this week and he was kind enough to give me samples of new dishes on his summer menu. So if the photos of my servings look a little skimpy, don’t be alarmed. Yours will be full size, I promise. And I assume you won’t be downing 5 dishes, plus a palate cleanser of fresh cherries served with honey-enhanced sour cream. Right?
The 2008 Dumol Pinot Noir was jammy delicious. The Montepulciano won praises, too.
So, here we go …
I could eat this twice a day, everyday. Grilled zucchini topped with smoked goat cheese, orange segments, gremolata, and fresh herbs ($8). So delectably vibrant.
Dry-aged NY tartar with pequillo peppers, cornichons and poached quail egg ($14). Served here atop toasted baguette and a puddle of spicy mustard dancing in one corner. Mmmm.
Pan-fried gnocchi served with a meatball made, I am sure of it, in heaven ($12). The meat isn’t falling apart; it was cooked to medium rare. And the sauce had a nice, spicy attitude.
If traditional cod is what you are looking for in your fish and chips, this isn’t for you. Chef Cuevas uses sustainable Alaskan Skuna Bay salmon that is flown in by special order. The tempura batter is spiked with a kiss of sun-dried tomatoes and malt ($16). And the fish is neither over-cooked or under-cooked = ’tis perfect. Nice herb-y tartar sauce, too.
More? Yup, more. The Crow “Black Label” Burger, here in a slider-sized version. The signature blend includes 21 day dry-aged prime rib eye. There’s marrow butter and caramelized onions … and it is served on a buttermilk bun. Plus a side of duck fat fries.
I thought I was full until I took a bite.
Rare and luscious. Only thing left was the paper. Real size is $19.
The Crow Bar, 2325 East Coast Highway, Corona del Mar www.thecrowbarcdm.com