On The Line: John Cuevas of The Crow Bar and Kitchen, Part Two

Today we continue with our interview with John Cuevas, the new kitchen mastermind at The Crow Bar and Kitchen in Corona del Mar.  If you missed the first part of our Q&A, click here.  Otherwise, read on.

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:
Sea cucumber.

You're making an omelet. What's in it?
Sausage and cheese.


You're at the market. What do you buy two of?
Bottles of wine.

Weirdest customer request:
Burnt garlic bread.

Favorite OC restaurant(s) other than your own:
The Loft at Montage.

Hardest lesson you've learned:
It's a business.

What would the last meal on Earth be?
Home made bread and butter.

Who's your hero? Culinary or otherwise?
My mom because she has raised me to live by her morals and values and has set the bar very high.

What cuisine that you are unfamiliar with would you want to learn more about and why?
Indian, very intrigued by their use of spices.

Since taking over Crow Bar's kitchen, what have you changed and what have you kept the same?
Changed the thought process in the kitchen to think about what they're cooking and why and the effect it has on the guests. I have kept the integrity of what they have already created.

Crow Bar is often credited as the first real gastropub to open in OC.  Now there are more than a few. What do you think of your competition?
I love that OC is getting a stronger restaurant scene and look forward to the challenge it brings. Bring it!

What will you find at Crow Bar that you can't find at any other gastropub, or, let alone, any other restaurant?
I don't get tired of what I do. I live food day in, day out, and it shows in our cooking. We also strive for a great guest experience.

Name one thing you'd love to introduce to a gastropub menu that perhaps might not fit the gastropub theme?  Or is anything game?
Anything is game. I hope the community is willing to try it.

What dish would you tell newcomers to try first?
Our new beef tartare

What would you be doing if you weren't in this business?
Taking pictures. I love photography

What's a typical meal that you and/or your family eat or cook for yourselves at home more than any other?
Caesar salad, avocado, sunflower seeds and shaved Parmesan. Yummy! (I can't take the credit for this one.)

If you could make a burger for someone who's never had a burger, what would it contain, and what would it not contain?
I'd serve them our Black Label, 28-day dry-aged New York, caramelized onions and bone- marrow butter.

What advice do you have for those who might be thinking about starting a career in food?
One sentence wouldn't do it justice: Let's talk.

What do you see yourself doing in five years? 10 years?
Still loving food.

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