The Crow Bar: A Seriously Naughty Gastropub

My trips back to the OC are a whirlwind of work – lunch with friends – work dinner with friends – work lunch with friends – rinse and repeat.

My first night in town I headed to the Crow Bar and Kitchen in Corona del Mar to meet up with Marita (a friend from my Freshman/Sophomore boarding school days), her charming husband, and her adorable new baby girl.  Bonus: Marita and Dave are seriously into food.

The Crow Bar is a godsend for the Orange County too many chain restaurant scene.  It’s a gastropub with a worthy wine and beer list and a knack for turning out naughty food. 

The wine list posed a delicious dilemma: an Italian Soave or a Spanish Albarino?  On our server’s recommendation, the Soave was chosen.  Light, crisp, fruity but not sweet, a perfect summer wine and a solid accompaniment to the grilled artichoke appetizer.

Grilled Artichoke at the Crow Bar

The menu held an unexpected surprise – fried fabulousness worthy of Indianapolis’s Mug ‘n Bun but with a haute cuisine twist: Mac ‘n cheese Bites: Fried spheres filled with Mac n’ cheese – gruyere? cheese that is – served on a base of marinara sauce and topped with arugula.

Mac 'n Cheese Bites at the Crow Bar

Monday nights mean duck fat fried chicken.  A generous serving of crispy fried chicken with a spicy slaw that will make even coleslaw haters happy campers. 

Duck Fat Fried Chicken at the Crow Bar

If it’s not Monday night, the crow “black label” burger is beyond worthy.  Order it hangover style with a runny egg and cheese on top and you may never eat a burger elsewhere again.

The Crow "Black Label Burger" and Duck Fat Fries

Duck fat fries served with a rich aioli are a must with the burger, but the sweet potato fries are also a solid selection for a sweet/savory contrast.

Pretzel Peanut Butter Cup at the Crow Bar

With offerings such as “not just a ding dong,” “s’mores sundae” and “bananas foster bread pudding” the dessert selection is impressive, but the “pretzel peanut butter cup” stood out.  A salty pretzel crust topped with peanut butter semifredo, covered with belgian chocolate granache and topped with pretzel praline – sweet ‘n salty heaven.

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5 Responses

  1. Wow look at that food…I have never been there but will have to check it out:)

  2. Love the dessert.

  3. Swanky deep fried food? I am a fan! 🙂

  4. Definitely a great selection of naughty food! Who can possibly say ‘no’ to all the fried goodness, especially the Mac ‘n cheese Bites – combines the love of two comfort food! Carving some butternut squash mac-n-cheese now! Thanks for all the food porn.

  5. Oh my goodness! This looks like guilty pleasure heaven! Fried macaroni cheese? Yum yum yum. I’ve never had duck-fat french fries, but I’ve heard that they blow all other french fries out of the water. Thanks for sharing all of these delicious eats.

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