When I’m looking to satisfy the more urban predilections of my palate, the strip of PCH that stretches through Corona Del Mar isn’t the first neighborhood that comes to mind. It is, however, home to The Crow Bar and Kitchen, a hip gastropub nestled in that quaint beachside community.
The gastropub movement began in London during the early ’90s and strove to introduce a more elevated dining experience for pub patrons while maintaining the communal feel of a local bar. The concept took hold and slowly migrated its way across The Pond to New York, and finally here to O.C.
Despite being located only four blocks from the beach, The Crow Bar and Kitchen sticks to its urban inspiration in both its decor and its ambiance. Cool and relaxed, it feels very modern while incorporating elements of Old World style; it even has a tin-look ceiling. The bar offers more than 20 international brews on tap.
The Crow Bar is dedicated to maintaining its motto: “Think local, eat global.” When seasonably available, the restaurant buys as much of its produce as possible from independent local farms, and its meat and poultry is raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics. Nowhere is this dedication to high-quality ingredients more evident than in its classic Black Label Burger.
Don’t let its simple appearance fool you; this burger is truly sophisticated pub grub. Served on a buttermilk biscuit, the dry-aged prime rib-eye patty is simply garnished with caramelized onions and bone marrow butter. It looked unassuming, but when I tasted it, I immediately questioned why I had ever dabbled in vegetarianism. And at $19, it’s easy to indulge yourself.
For lighter fare, try the arugula-and-stone fruit salad from the new fall menu. Slivers of goat cheese top a mixture of baby arugula and chopped peaches and nectarines, all tossed in a light lemon dressing. If you love fish, then you won’t be able to resist the smoked salmon nicoise salad. Its pickled onions and olives blend perfectly with marinated feta and heirloom tomatoes, providing a light but filling entrée.
So, if you’re looking to grab lunch somewhere with serious cool-factor and even better food-factor, stop by The Crow Bar.
The Crow Bar and Kitchen
2325 East Coast Highway
Corona Del Mar, 949.675.0070
≈ QUICK BITES ≈
Keeping the environment in mind, The Crow Bar uses only recycled, biodegradable to-go packaging and does not serve bottled water. Its efforts have earned it a Green Restaurant certification by the Green Restaurant Association.
Thursday night socials
Don’t let The Crow Bar’s quiet, picturesque setting fool you. On Thursday nights, the kitchen stays open late for Industry Night socials. The “reverse happy hour” specials start at 10 p.m. and go until closing time.