For the last couple of months, I’ve been meaning to get to OddBird, the restaurant within a restaurant serving dinner in the West Egg space. There were a couple of hindrances – it is dinner only and only open Wednesday – Saturday. But I was drawn in by two words: “hot chicken”. Hot chicken is a Nashville thing (the pinnacle of which, to me, is Prince’s Hot Chicken) and there hasn’t been anyone serving it in Atlanta, until now. After talking with the manager, while we waited for dessert, she said that the West Egg owners had been thinking about opening a hot chicken place for a while and, since the dinner numbers at West Egg had been slow, decided to “float” the idea as a pop up.
It’s a counter service place, with a semi-limited food menu: chicken and biscuits, chicken sandwiches, chicken and waffles, a salad and desserts. They do have beer and wine, and a full bar service – they made a killer peach basil soda for us.
Tonight, my dining companion was a Mystery Diner, who I’ll refer to as “Number 31”, for this review.
Number 31 chose to go with hot chicken and waffles, at a temperature of “hot” – they serve plain chicken, “hot” chicken and “too hot” chicken. The hot chicken and waffles is served with bread and butter pickles (sliced really thin and not too sweet) and a rosemary infused syrup.
We smelled the waffle, well before it made it’s way to the table. I tasted the “hot” chicken and it was good – about the same heat level as the mild chicken at Prince’s. The crust was interesting but tasty, as they dredge the chicken in cornmeal and flower, prior to being fried in soybean oil, leading to a crispy skin.
I chose the “too hot” chicken biscuit,
with sides of mac-n-cheese and white chicken sausage gravy. Knowing my tolerance for spicy foods, I thought “too hot” would be fine. And it was. Spicy enough to make the top of my head itch, but not quite hot enough to break a sweat. It was tasty – more sauce fire than spice fire, but a perfectly acceptable rendition of hot chicken. The Mac-n-cheese was creamy and good, but not great, and the gravy was oddly sweet. We finished our plates and contemplated the daily dessert we saw by the counter.
As good as this fried pie looks, there’s a tragic detail you can’t see in the picture – it’s pecan.
If it had of been most any fruit, I’d have been elated. As it was, I ate ice cream and sampled the crust, which was thicker than I expected.
If you’re interested in exploring the idea of hot chicken and don’t want to make the drive to Nash-Vegas, you ought to give OddBird a try. And you may want to go soon – you never know how long a pop up is going to be running.