The Dirty Bird may be the most gratifying place to visit on a Sunday afternoon trip to Kensington Market. Having recently opened in March, it's one of the trendiest spots in Toronto for the largely sought after chicken and waffles.
If you're wondering what sustenance this Dirty Bird has to stack up against the other chicken in waffles in Toronto (and believe me Toronto has some dirty competition when it comes to chicken and waffles), then read on.
The restaurant is headed by a collaboration of culinary talents between owner Daniel Quintas (Insomnia Restaurant), chefs Brian Butler and Adrian Forte (previously Rock Lobster and The Libertine), and Flo King (web and marketing consultant).
They specialize in bringing Northern fried chicken to the table by adding buttered maple and pure maple syrup blended in-house to their signature chicken and waffles. Some true Canadian flavour that gets people invariably responding with an "eh".
But what makes their dishes droolworthy is the fact that most of their ingredients are locally sourced. The meat alternates between notable butchers Sanagan's Meat Locker and St. Andrew down the street, so you can count on your fried chicken to taste fresh to the bone.
Such as the Dirty Fries ($7) which are undeniably full of flavour, splashed with house seasoning, drizzled in cheddar, Dirty aioli, french fried Onions and sprinkled with chives. They were devoured within minutes (which could have been seconds, if it weren't for the waffles).
The Dirty Bird'ger ($7) has a boneless thigh dressed with lettuce, tomato, pickle, red onion, dirty sauce, and maple aioli sandwiched between a half waffle. A perfectly safe option for a lunch takeout that is less likely to leave you in a food coma.
For any first timer at The Dirty Bird, you must get your hands, fork and knife on The ODB ($15). It's a perfect combination of savoury and sweet; a crispy boneless chicken thigh and leg hand-breaded in a layer of gluten-free signature flour blend atop a fluffy waffle and drizzled with buttered maple and dirty sauce. Served with either a choice of coleslaw or potato salad.
Overall, if you are looking to get your chicken and waffle fix or simply want to see what the hype is all about, grab your friends and family and go. There's minimal seating of only 16, but that is to be expected with any restaurant in Kensington. If you manage to save room for dessert, try the waffle ice cream sandwiches. I love that the prices are affordable and fairly represent what the dishes are worth. I'll be back for The 'signature' Dirty Club.