Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Burger Kravings in Newport

The Krave Kobe Burger Grill
21133 Newport Coast Dr.
Newport Coast, CA 92657

It's burger time again on this blog. Early in the life of this blog, it seemed like every other restaurant review was about hamburgers. A quick check of the categories listed on the right-hand side of this page bears this out. We have reviewed 138 different burger restaurants or restaurants where I had a burger. Yikes, that's a lot of burgers. I have kind of slowed down on my quest for the perfect burger though. We are almost to the halfway point of this year, and this will be only the sixth burger I have reviewed on these pages. See, I've evolved.

Anyways, it was time to try out another burger place that's been on my list forever. Krave Kobe Burger Grill landed on my list because they had invited me to their grand opening, but I had not been able to go. That was almost two years ago now. Man, time is flying by. I had also made a note that they were featured in Orange Coast Magazine's Best Burgers of the Year issue last October. They were mentioned in the $10 or less category, which in this neighborhood is a steal.

Katie had some business to tend to after work one evening near Fashion Island, which is definitely close enough where we could make it to Krave. Just so we are clear, and there's no confusion, this is not affiliated with Krave Asian Fusion in Irvine. That place specializes in Korean Fried Chicken, which we've tried and it really is good. This Krave is all about burgers.

Located in a shopping center I did not know existed until this evening, Krave is situated on the corner of Newport Coast Dr. and San Joaquin Hills Road. There's a Pavillion's here, a Zov's Restaurant, First Class Pizza, two banks, a nail salon, and of course two Starbucks in this shopping plaza. Guess people can never get enough coffee around these parts.

The idea for Krave started when Co-Founder and CEO of Krave, Ardy Farokhirad traveled abroad and found out that in other countries people were pretty concerned with what they put in their bodies, unlike back here at home. He decided that he wanted to create a burger spot that provided a high-quality burger with nutritious and safe to eat products at an affordable price. That means they get their beef from independent farmers that do not add hormones and raise their cows in the most humane way possible. This must have been a hit with consumers because the company said that they are set to open up 10 locations this year, and have 60 up and running within two years. Pretty lofty goals, and we'll see how it all plays out.

Back to our present visit though. We arrived here at just before 6pm on a recent Wednesday evening. The restaurant is a little bigger than it appears from the outside. To the left of the registers where you place your order, there's bar seating, which allows a good view of the happenings in the kitchen. There's plenty of TV's turned to sports around the dining room, many of which were ignored by the rather thin crowd on this particular evening. Most people were ordering their food to go. We, of course, got our food for here, so let's see how everything turned out for us on this evening.

Starting things off for us at Krave was this Trio ($8.99) which allows you to try all three of their sides; French Fries, Onion Rings, and Sweet Potato Fries. The best of the bunch were the onion rings. They had a very crunchy panko breading which did not tear away from the onion inside as easily as other onion rings tend to do. A big plus in my book, as it's nice to have the salty outer shell with the sweet onion underneath. The fries were pretty standard on this visit. The use of the Kennebec potato was wasted here, as these fries came out lukewarm at best. They might have been better if they were seasoned a tad more with salt and if they did not cool so quickly.  I'm not really a big fan of Sweet Potato Fries, but Katie liked these. They were warmer than the fries, but the menu claims these are great with their marshmallow sauce, which we did not get with our order. Maybe you have to ask for the sauces in order to get them.

Katie was not feeling a burger, so she went with this Chicken Breast Sandwich ($7.99). This sandwich is made with some free-range chicken, then topped with Swiss cheese, tomato, lettuce, caramelized onion, and garlic aioli. She had asked for avocado on this, but they forgot to put it on, which seemed to be a problem on this evening. Katie was not a big fan of this sandwich. She thought it was kind of plain tasting, the chicken was dry, and the garlic aioli did not really shine on this. They might have needed a little heavier condiment hand on this to make it more noticeable and spice this sandwich up flavorwise. She would definitely get something else here next time.

Now the reason I was drawn here, the Kolossal Burger ($11.24 with cheese added). The burgers at Krave come with only tomato, lettuce, caramelized onions, and garlic aioli. Bacon and cheese are additional upgrades of $1.25 and $1.50 respectively. This Kolossal version features two patties and I opted for both cheddar cheese and bacon, although the bacon failed to show up on the burger. I decided I did not need the bacon with a burger this big, so I let it go, but I think it would have made this burger even better than it already was. I loved the way that the cheddar cheese melted across the patties, and even though they put way too much lettuce on this, (I had enough for a salad after I pulled more than half of it off), I was pretty stoked with this burger. You could taste the freshness in the meat, and the patties were very juicy. The bun did a wonderful job of keeping things together, but a little more of the garlic aioli would have been appreciated, but a very clean tasting burger. Not good enough to crack my top four burgers in OC, but better than most. I could see why this would be among the top 40 listed in Orange Coast Magazine.

I left Krave Kobe Burger satisfied, but I know it could have been better if they would have not forgotten items on both Katie and mines entrees. The bacon and some added aioli would have made this burger even better, while the missing avocado could have moistened the chicken sandwich up a bit to make it better than average. With the exception of the very good onion rings, the sides did not impress on this evening. Maybe an off night for them, but with an aggressive expansion plan in the works for the coming years, they might still have some kinks to work out.

Out of five bags of beef jerky, (not because of the meat here, but because there's a brand of beef jerky called Krave, which was bought by the Hershey Company in 2015 for 240 million dollars), five being best to zero being worst, Krave Kobe Burger Grill gets 2.5 bags of beef jerky.

For more information about The Krave Kobe Burger Grill, head to their website here: http://kravekobeburger.com/

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