Crow Burger Kitchen
3107 Newport Blvd.
Newport Beach, CA 92663
We have been on a real burger kick recently. It could have something to do with it being summer and the smell of all the barbecues around my neighborhood. More than likely though, it is probably the fact that I am a burger-aholic. If there was a BA, (Burger's Anonymous), I would probably never get my three-day chip. Luckily there is no BA, so I do not have to worry about weaning myself off of burgers. I had this place in my sights after we ate at their sister location, Crow Bar Kitchen, and I found out that they have another restaurant devoted to hamburgers. That was all I had to hear, and with that, we were on our way.
Crow Burger Kitchen is located on the Newport peninsula, in a recently revamped shopping center that used to contain an Albertson's and a KFC. Both of these are long gone now, replaced with a remodeled Pavilions and a Chipotle. I had heard that the owners of this shopping center wanted to liven things up by adding some new life to this shopping venue, and Crow Burger Kitchen is one restaurant that is doing just that.
Crow Burger Kitchen is an offshoot of the very successful, Crow Bar and Kitchen in Corona Del Mar. The two restaurants appear like they want to be independent of each other though. Both of their web sites have no mention of the other restaurant. They do not even share any common burgers with each other. They do share the same top-secret blend of prime chuck, short rib, hanger steak, and brisket to make their burgers. I was hoping I would like Crow Burger Kitchen as much as liked the Crow Bar and Kitchen. Let's see if this is the case.
We arrived at the restaurant at six on a Saturday night to a thirty-minute wait. Guess we should have made reservations, but our friend Becky is notoriously late, so we knew we had some time to kill. After being seated I noticed the hip and energetic staff buzzing around the place. The restaurant is darkened, and dominated by a brick wall, and lots of light-colored wood.
I admit I am no beer connoisseur. I asked the waitress to bring me something light, so she brought me a Joe's American Pilsner ($5) from Avery Brewing Company. She was right on the mark with this selection. Light and refreshing. This pilsner did not get in the way of any of the foods that were upcoming. You can tell that they take their beer and wine selections very seriously at Crow Burger Kitchen. These are not your run of the mill beers that you are going to see at all of the other restaurants. I admit to not knowing more than a quarter of their offerings, but like I said, I am by no means a beer expert. Even though I have drunk my fair share of the golden brewed elixir.
We each picked a side item to go with our burgers, and this was Katie's choice, the Grilled Green Bean Fries ($3.95). When I heard her order these I did not think I would like these. They were actually seasoned really well and served with a nice olive tapenade. If these were just a little crisper they would have been even better.
One item that both Crow restaurants do have in common is the Duck Fat Fries ($3.95). These fries are as rich as they sound. Again, like the green beans, they could have been a little crispier, but they were still good. These were served with house-made ketchup that was not as sweet as store the store-bought version but was still good.
The last of our side items was the Vidalia Onion Rings ($5.95). I thought these were okay, but the breading separated from the onion very easily. This breading was very heavy, but not too greasy. The serving size of these were not overly large, six rings. So that works out to a dollar per ring, not such a great value.
Both Katie and Becky ordered the same burger, the aptly named, Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger ($8.95). This cheesy burger comes on a wheat English muffin with black pepper cheese, cream cheese, goat cheese, garlic mayo, and an onion ring. Both of the girls really liked this burger, especially Becky, who paired this with a cabernet. This burger did feature lots of cheese, but the cheese did not overpower the meat here like I thought it would. I was also a little apprehensive about the cream cheese on this, but it melted down to a nice consistency. The onion ring added a nice crunch, and the English muffin really held everything together well.
I had looked at the menu before we got to the restaurant, so I knew I would be having the Hangover Burger ($8.95). This burger was almost made just for me. Fried hen's egg, bacon, and sharp cheddar joined the 5-ounce burger patty on a buttermilk bun. A real breakfast burger. The meat was cooked very nicely, and seasoned well. The fried egg was plenty runny after I broke the yolk. The bacon was thick and full of delicious flavor. My only minor complaint would be that this needed a mayonnaise type condiment of some kind to put this over the top. Really good burger though.
Crow Burger Kitchen is just as good as their sister restaurant, Crow Bar Kitchen. All of the items were very good, and the burgers are superior to most out there. There are only eight burgers on their menu, but they also offer an option to build your perfect burger, so the combinations are immense. I did not think the prices were out of control for gourmet burgers. The service was great the night we were here. They were busy, but our waitress was hustling and checked on us regularly. I imagine that wait times for tables can be quite long here because a lot of people eat and then have drinks at the same table. Glad we made it to Crow Burger Kitchen, and we are looking forward to having a summer filled with great burgers just like these.
Out of five pieces of licorice, (because there used to be a brand of black licorice named, "Crows" in the early 20th century), five being best to zero being worst, Crow Burger Kitchen gets 3.5 pieces of licorice.
For more information on Crow Burger Kitchen, click here: http://crowburgerkitchen.com/index.php