“We’re trying new things all the time,” Varouj Shekerdemian, director of operations at the R Bar on Third Street. That explains the outdoor kitchen. V (as Shekerdemian is known) hopes the smells of hot dogs, sausages, burgers, tacos, and quesadillas will attract people to place orders to go. Like all Long Beach restaurants, the R Bar only is offering orders to go. It’s been tough, but V said so far, they’ve been able to keep the majority of the staff. The limitations on restaurants are unfortunate on many levels, but the R Bar is ready when inside dining resumes. They underwent a $1.5 million renovation before opening in 2018. The result, supervised by Josh Cool at Innovation Design & Architecture, is a very sophisticated interior that is friendly and features dozens of TVs and some cushions in Laker colors of silver and gold. I can’t wait to get back in there for some sports! In the meantime, the food is still good, and the menu has plenty of choices: pasta, burgers, Mexican, “Better than any authentic Mexican restaurant,” according to V. He said that having a diverse menu makes sure that when a group of people is dining, there’s something for everyone. He encourages people to order takeout directly from the restaurant because it’s less expensive.
After the R Bar opened in May of 2018, V found that many customers were drinking but not eating because they were looking for Keto options. The Keto Choices are low carb, gluten-free with moderate protein, and high. Ingredients including almond and coconut fl our and cauliflower for taco bowls, tacos, and pizza crust. “We’re probably the only sports bar serving vegetarian options, V said, recommending the Buffalo Cauliflower appetizer ($12). It’s his recipe of light beer-battered cauliflower, flash-fried and served with sides of house-made ranch and buffalo sauce for dipping. The Buffalo The Keto Bowl ($13) comes with eggplant beans, Cauliflower rice, Pico de Gallo, sour cream, and avocado in a tasty cauliflower taco bowl. I had it with Carne Asada, which was very tender. Another delicious Keto choice is the Cauliflower Crust Veggie Pizza (15). The crust is perfectly crisp and has silky smooth avocado, mushrooms, artichokes, mixed greens, and fresh house-made pesto sauce. Besides keto, there are other good choices. The Spicy Creole Chicken sandwich ($15) is a very generous piece of chicken, battered in their signature sauce, topped with roasted tomatoes house-made remoulade very full-flavored. On a toasted sesame seed bun. Great combo of the crunchy and tender chicken with a fluffy bun. Perfect level of spices. The Crab Cakes ($14) is an appetizer highlight: bigger than a silver dollar, firm, chewy, and nicely browed in an excellent coating. It comes with house-made aioli. There’s also a soup of the day, which on my visit was Pozole. It had a very intense full flavor and tender chunks of potatoes. The South of the Border section has chips and salsa, Queso Dip, nachos, quesadilla, tacos in various sizes ($2- $13), and a wet burrito ($15). This was delicious and massive, enough to take some home for the next day. It’s the usual ingredients, rice, beans, cheddar cheese, fresh salsa, avocado, e smothered with guajillo chile sauce, which is as flavorful as other chiles, but not so hot. As V said, this is a diverse menu.