Inventive gourmet chicken sandwiches and sides

Birdhouse-

Salt Lake City, UT – $ to $$ – Casual
Sifter Critique

Philip H. - Pro Sifter

Philip H. - Pro SifterPublished Dec 26, 2019

Overall 4.2 / 5.0

4.1

Food

4

Service

3.5

Ambience

5

Value

Overview

If you like crispy, gourmet battered birds on a bun, meet Birdhouse! This new casual dining option, on 9th and 9th, comes from the owners of Pago and East Liberty Tap House. Get affordable fried or grilled chicken with a hearty side or on a sandwich. They even offer salads, soups, beer, and wine. Did I mention, they have vegan and gluten-free options too!

Value

The portion sizes are generous and prices fair. Birdhouse offers its chicken as low as $6.95. Sandwiches start at $8.95. Family fried chicken dinners go for $32.95. You can treat yourself to a side for $1.95 and up to $6.50.

Most popular dishes

Spicy Piri Piri Chicken, The Classic, Tiki Chicken, Chicken Fingers, Seasonal Mason Jar Salad, and the Daily Soup.

What I ordered

Practically the whole menu!

Food quality

Tiki Chicken

The flavors are one of a kind. You’ll find each bite to be savory with a touch of sweet and spice. There’s even a subtle hint of bitterness. It features a fried jerk spiced chicken thigh, freshly grilled pineapple, lettuce, and dijon aioli. The thigh meat wasn’t as moist as the breast meat, yet still enjoyable. The bun did become soggy over time, but it didn’t take away from the deliciousness of the sandwich. Overall a very unique and tasty entree!

Spicy Piri Piri

The Spicy Piri Piri Sandwich layers Piri Piri hot sauce, cabbage slaw, and spicy aioli over a chicken breast, fried or grilled. Piri Piri sauce stems from African and Portuguese roots. You’ll find it to be sour, sweet, spicy, salty, and tangy. It’s somewhat like a buffalo-style chicken sandwich, yet unique. The meat was very moist, breading cooked to a light brown, and had a delicious crunch. The ciabatta bun is soft, spongy, and toasted on the inside. The cabbage adds fresh color and texture. But, I recommend putting the cabbage on the bottom to prevent the bun from getting soggy.

The Classic

This sandwich is well rounded and will not let any new customers or fried chicken lovers down! The classic is a fried chicken breast, romaine lettuce, tomato, house-made pickles, and birdhouse aioli. I love pickles and this place has excellent crispy pickles! The birdhouse aioli is mixed with house-made BBQ, mayo, and spices.

BBQ Pulled Chicken

This sandwich my least favorite.  The BBQ Pulled Chicken sandwich is pulled chicken, house-made BBQ sauce, onion rings, and carrots. Overall it tastes like a sloppy joe. For being a wet sandwich, we found it to be more dry than saucy. The raw carrots slices add some great color but don’t come through on the flavor and add a firm, odd texture to every bite. I would rather have crunch from slaw or perhaps a pickled veggie. The bun was toasted and never became soggy like other sandwiches.

Double Stack Burger

The Double Stack Burger is two 3 oz Niman Ranch beef patties, Birdhouse aioli, romaine lettuce, dill pickles, and tomatoes. My Grandmother never ate chicken her entire life, so I understand the need to have other options than a full chicken menu. The meat patties are thin and were cooked to well done, which made the burger tough and on the chewy side. It is served on a soft ciabatta bun, but it did seem to get soggy quickly. The pickles have a strong vinegar flavor with a nice crunch to them. Tastes like a standard double cheeseburger with Birdhouse aioli. Don’t go for the burger. Stick with the real bread and butter of this place, which is the chicken.

Seasonal Mason Jar Salad

This salad is a fun one. You can shake it up and eat it directly out of the jar or throw it in a bowl for some sharing. The Seasonal Mason Jar Salad is romaine lettuce, pickled butternut squash, apples, gorgonzola, hazelnuts, and grilled apple vinaigrette. My favorite part of the salad is the pickled squash. A sweet thang taste comes out, complemented by a cinnamon apple vinaigrette. Golden Delicious apples are slightly sweeter than the squash and are complemented nicely by the cinnamon. Romaine lettuce is fresh and crisp. Hazelnuts add a nice crunch. A pleasant salty gorgonzola cheese flavor compliments the sweetness of the other ingredients.

Vegan Chicken Burger

The vegan chicken patty itself imitates real fried chicken nicely. It brings out the poultry seasoning flavor with the unique blend of spices. The inside of the patty is a bit gummy because it’s plant-based. This dish also layers vegan mayo, romaine lettuce, dill pickles, and tomatoes on the sandwich. The vegan mayonnaise is excellent. It’s just like real mayonnaise. The pickles come out nicely in the bite. I didn’t care for the red sauce that came with the sandwich. It tasted like marinara and didn’t compliment the other flavors in the sandwich well, in my opinion. I would have preferred the Birdhouse aioli.

Fries

Their fries are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, with the right amount of salt. Parsley is sprinkled for added freshness and color. When paired with the BBQ spiced Birdhouse aioli, your taste buds will sing! They also offer shoestring fries if you like them skinny! Also note, fries must be ordered separately.

Gravy and Mashed Potatoes

The potatoes were very buttery and creamy. Gravy is dark and thick with little chicken bites, adding a nice texture.

Street Corn

Best untraditional side. It shocked us by how good it is! The Street corn is grilled with fresh queso fresco and spicy aioli. It’s salty, buttery, cheesy, saucy, spicy, need I say more? Corn has a good crunch, and the pickled peppers compliment it well. However, it leans towards the small side. Birdhouse, please make this with a full ear of corn because I want more!!!

The Daily Soup

The Daily Soup is bone broth, carrots, celery onions, chicken, and tortilla strips. The manager mentioned the Chef takes pride in their soup. The vegetables taste like your standard can soup, with the addition of bone broth. We also didn’t like the tortilla strips on top. It would have been better served without them. They were as many tortilla strips as there was soup. I didn’t come across it as tortilla soup or a vegetable. A traditional chicken noodle soup at a high caliber would be better. This my least favorite side.

Soft Serve Ice Cream

The Soft Serve Ice Cream flavors are vanilla and chocolate with a cake cone. Low aeration, dense, rich, creamy. Higher quality than what you find at most fast-food chains.

Dietary Needs

They offer gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and vegetarian options. Cross-contamination may be likely. Check with the host before ordering.

Ambiance

Birdhouse Chicken is a fast-casual restaurant with a laid back vibe. Their style and decor is minimalistic but lacks character. The space felt spotless. They offer comfortable seating with an excellent layout for small groups. However, come during the off hours. It can be hard to maintain a conversation with even a small crowd. The wood finishings amplify the noise levels.

Service

The employees are helpful and friendly. Once placing your order at the counter, they’ll give you a table number. It features a map of local SLC hikes that you can look at while you await your order. The food itself was delivered hot, within 10 minutes of ordering. All dishes are plated on ceramic plates or bowls and glass cups for your beverage. If you need more water or additional services, you may need to go back up to the counter as is customary with most fast-casual restaurants.

What I liked most

The Tiki Chicken Sandwich and Street Corn was my favorite combo. Great food for a great value! It’s also in a great location, just north of Sugarhouse, with nearby shops and the famous tower theatre. Great spot to hit up during the Sundance Film Festival for a quick bite.

What I disliked most

The lack of character in the place. The soup, BBQ chicken sandwich, and the burger were our least favorite menu items. With their modern spins on the fried chicken sandwich, I also expected their soft serve ice cream to be unique. Please come up with a unique flavor of ice cream as Ginger Street did!

The verdict

They have great food and I love supporting local restaurants in our community. Fried chicken is not my first choice when it comes to a meal, but I am glad to see more chicken shops pop up!

Food prepared in this establishment may contain wheat, shellfish, dairy, eggs, soy, and nuts. Please ask the establishment prior to consuming any food.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.