Crow Burger, ‘Seriously Good’
By Logan Payne
When driving down Newport Boulevard on a sun soaked day, you can expect to see some pretty quintessential Southern California things. Girls riding bikes in bikinis, check. Over-baked, middle aged women with fake boobs, check. Over-baked, middle-aged men with younger women at their side, check. Ah yes, breathe in the salty air as you drive past a laundromat, Albertson’s, and Crow Burger. Wait, what? Crow Burger? Yes, Crow Burger.
This artisan burger hotspot opened last July and features a reasonably sized menu of classic American cuisine and beer, but with a twist. Walk in and you’ll see a beautiful rustic ceiling with giant wooden beams juxtaposed against painted green metal chairs and sharp steel tables. The decor serves as a perfect representation of Crow Burger’s modern cuisine, which has its roots in organic, farm fresh ingredients.
But enough with the decor, let’s get to the food. Crow Burger’s big draws are their ten “pre-crafted” burgers and their “B.Y.O.B.” option, which lets you build your own burger and choose the delicious fare that goes in it. With choices like shoestring onions, roasted peppers, Maytag blue cheese, truffle aioli and smoked bacon, there are some pretty delectable options to choose from.
Having tried nearly all of the options on their menu, (yes, I love cheeseburgers), I’ve definitely figured out which ones are standouts. Winners include, the basic Crow Boy burger with “good ol’ American cheese,” pickles, shredded lettuce and their delicious house-made ketchup. They make their own ketchup you guys, need I say more? If you’re craving an inexpensive and simple burger, go for the Crow Boy but if you feel like ordering to impress, go for the Green Label burger which packs a punch with it’s 100 percent prime chuck meat (ground in-house), bacon butter, and shoestring onions. The Green Label is the most expensive burger on the menu, coming in at $13.95 in comparison to others that range from $6.95 to $9.75. Not bad for farm fresh, organic patties.
Other standouts include the “Frenchie,” which makes use of a delicious chunk of brie cheese, a spoonful of Dijon mustard for added spice and cornichons and mache for greens. Going along with this worldly take on cheeseburgers, Crow Burger also offers the “Double J” burger which surprises with its intense heat. Topped with refried beans, roasted jalapenos, jalapeno cheese sauce and the “crow” hot sauce, it’s a delicious alternative to a wet burrito. Also on the menu, are duck fat fries, which are crispy and tasty, especially when paired with the truffle or lemon aioli.
The interesting thing about their burgers, which are always cooked to a perfect medium unless instructed otherwise, is that they are made out of a “top-secret” blend of short rib, brisket, prime chuck and hanger steak all ground into a five-ounce, perfectly proportioned patty. Burgers are not their only offering though.
Also on the menu are fish and chips which feature generous portions of Icelandic Cod Filets fried to crispy perfection on top of French fries and “The Big Dog” which is a half-pound of all natural beef topped with spicy mayo and Pico de Gallo. Both of these are miss-able, though as their burgers are winners to the max.
When your food arrives at your table, after you’ve placed your order with one of their young, attractive hipster waiters who record your order on an iPad, it comes on a metal tray that frames your burger like a beautiful piece of modern art. Tap water also comes in a Voss-like jar that is poured into small, stocky glass cups. Wine comes in tall flutes, not just your traditional wine glass.
On tap are 33 different drafts, half of them “guests” as Crow Burger frequently features different beers brewed in a variety of locales. If you frequent Crow Burger enough (like me) the manager will eventually recognize you and offer you a tasting of his newest brews on draft, but if you’re underage (like me) you’ll have to watch in sadness as your friend tries out some delicious beer.
Don’t fret underage patrons! Crow Burger offers an interesting array of soft, bottled drinks like Dry Soda Lavender, Sparky’s Root Beer and Boylan’s Diet Black Cherry.
All in all, Crow Burger is a seriously good place. Although they have their misses, they also have some huge hits which will satisfy your belly to no end. Their burgers are always juicy and flavorful and there are few things in life that beat eating a tasty burger by the beach.