Chef Josh Harmon lands at The Exchange with Birdie

Birdie is a new restaurant from chef Josh Harmon, who trained at such acclaimed restaurants as David Burke Townhouse, The Dutch, Le Cirque and Buddhakan in New York. Locally, he has spent time at James Beard-nominated Petra and The Beast, and in 2019 appeared on the Food Network show. restaurant rivals, where he took first place.

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The sign at Birdie’s may be another channel for chickens.

Lauren Drewes Daniels

Birdie’s concept, according to Harmon in a press release, is to “raise the bar in terms of what a tender place for chicken can be.”

This new spot is located in The Exchange food hall downtown, which is adjacent to AT&T’s giant plaza and local headquarters. The exchange focuses on local food vendors with communal, almost cafeteria-style dining spaces. Revolver Taco has a space there, Monkey King Noodle Co., The Dock and recently Easy Slider have also moved in. When you spy Birdie backwards, you might notice their sign is a bit similar to another rather popular chicken. Or maybe not.

Here, the focus is on chicken fillets served in a few different styles. Half the menu sways south with things like macaroni and cheese, warm potato salad, and hot chicken sandwiches. While other options are influenced by Asia, such as a Korean chili glaze, bao, and katsu.

The menu breaks down pretty easily: pick your flavor (fried OG, hot or spicy Nashville honey); then choose a style (on a stick, bao, sandwich, tendy and toast or katsu); then there are the dips and sides.

We started with a southern tour that included a hot Nashville sandwich served with a pickle with house sauce on a toasted bun for $9. For the dips, which are 75 cents each, we tried the Dill Pickle Ranch. The sandwich was on par, if not better, than most hot chicken sandwiches we’ve had in Dallas over the past year. The buttery toasted bun and not too thick offerings had good value. The crispy pickle (there was a very wide slice of pickle) gave it a nice crunch, and additional sauce was not needed. The Birdie sauce slathered on the tenderloins was all the dressing she needed.

Click to enlarge Cheese is not a lie.  - LAUREN DREWES-DANIELS

Cheese is not a lie.

Lauren Drewes Daniels

The mac and cheese, aptly called Return of the Mac, was some of the best we’ve had. A thick layer of melted aged cheddar cheese laying on top of the little tin ramekin was like art. The elbow noodles were tender, not mushy at all, and the thick, creamy sauce coating everything was beautifully obscene.

Click to enlarge Sesame salad and spicy chicken bao.  - LAUREN DREWES-DANIELS

Sesame salad and spicy chicken bao.

Lauren Drewes Daniels

We also tried a bao with spicy honey chicken tender and pickle. The bun was perfect and the spicy honey glaze carried a fair amount of heat, but nothing overwhelming. These were $7 each and if we had known it was a single tender we could have ordered two for a full meal but then $14 for two chicken strips au bao might look like…well, the price of food these days.

A homemade Asian sesame salad was crispy and bright, but had a bit of a fishy taste. Maybe it just wasn’t the right deal for a meal otherwise centered on fried offerings. The coleslaw might have been perfect with another meal, but here the flavors were mismatched.

Eventually, they want to add flavored slushes to Kool-Aid and offer chicken and cookies on Sundays.

Birdie at the Stock Exchange, 211 S. Akard St. 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday

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