To be honest, I didn’t come here for the curly fries. I don’t think the massive line of people winding around the block were here for the curly fries either, but it certainly didn’t scare anyone away. My coworkers brought me here for a mind-blowing fried chicken sandwich that completely lived up to the hype. The curly fries were good, but the spicy fried chicken sandwich at THE BIRD is the stuff of legends.
Indulge me for a minute before I get to the fries. THE BIRD has a basic menu with a perfectly executed mission. They set out to serve amazing fried chicken at a reasonable price, and they nailed it. The chicken was crispy, juicy, and carried a balance of nuanced spices and heat. They marry that flavor explosion with an apple slaw, pickles and celery, and a freshly baked bun. It doesn’t get much better than that! I could eat this for lunch everyday for a week and still find something new to appreciate about it. Not least of which was how quickly the staff turned through customers. The line was at least 30 yards out the door when I showed up but I walked away with a sandwich after about 10 minutes. An $8 price tag might be enough for me to become a true regular.
I also ordered the curly fries…fully loaded. There’s not as much to praise here other than the fact that they serve curly fries. Not many places do. The sour cream, melted cheese, apple-wood smoked bacon, and green onions turn this into a bit of a baked potato experience, but the built-in spices of the curly fries add a bit to that classic combination. The flavor was fine, but the texture didn’t quite hold up to the short walk back to my temporary office in San Francisco. Even so, they were 100% edible, and at $3.75 for an order they’re a steal.
If these were going to be more of a prominent menu item I’d want them to incorporate some of the berbere spice blend from the chicken onto the fries. Unless you’re spiraling your own curly fries then you’re a bit limited because curly fries come with a factory seasoning. Still, I’d want something more unique to make these standout as a menu highlight. As is I’m willing to give them a 6.8 out of 10 on my rating scale, but a lot of that comes from the value they offer at the price point. The chicken sandwich (spicy) is about a 57 out of 10, but I don’t have a chicken scale. I’d put it on a similar level to Sunset Fried Chicken Sandwich or Ma’ono in Seattle.
In conclusion, THE BIRD knocked my socks off, and that was the request I gave to my new coworkers when they were deciding on where to take me. If you’re in the area, give it a shot. The do breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Sampled on 3/21/2018.
Bonus material: Here’s a photo of me relaxing in my airbnb. The new job is exciting, and exhausting.