Dirty Bird To-Go

We don't think too often about chicken fingers. Before recently, the last time we'd had chicken fingers was probably in the buffet section at a company bowling outing to Chelsea Piers hosted by a company we didn't even work for. They were cold, and greasy but also dry, and tasted like bad room service. Also: weird and slimy inside. (We're talking about the chicken, not the people.)

But recently, we made a trip to Dirty Bird To-Go on 14th Street, and we can report that our view on the potential of the chicken finger has changed. Dirty Bird will convince you that the chicken finger deserves a better home than a warming station in the kid's food area at a bar mitzvah. It convinced us. The skin is crisp, the inside is just right, and most importantly: no weird slimy bits.

Dirty Bird, a little takeout spot with a few seats on 14th and 7th (there's a newer location in Tribeca, too), specializes in organic, quality chicken of all kinds - fried, rotisserie, even chicken salad - and those are all good too. You will be well-served here, whether you like your chicken on top of kale, with a side of kale, in a wrap, or on a bone and fried in buttermilk batter. Chicken, for all.

There's a crazy amount of chicken in New York these days - every other "new American" restaurant has a $26 fried chicken on its menu, a handful of places think they've reinvented the roasted bird (put foie gras under the skin!), and we're pretty sure a new NYC bylaw states that you can't open East Village/Lower East Side/Williamsburg brunch spot if fried chicken and waffles don't appear on the menu. So we won't say Dirty Bird is in the running for the city's best - it's simply a really good little takeout spot for chicken, should you find yourself near 14th Street and in the mood for some poultry. The chicken fingers might even be worth traveling for.

Food Rundown

Fried Chicken

The obvious order here. Dirty Bird's fried chicken has a noticeably thick crust, to the extent that can break it off and eat it on its own like a cracker. It's good.

Chicken Fingers

We didn't know a chicken finger could be this good. The coating is a little thinner than the fried chicken. If you're ordering something else, at least add on a chicken finger for $2.

Rotisserie Chicken

Ordering a half rotisserie chicken is a bold, confident, and mature move. One which we approve of.

Kale Salad With Rotisserie Chicken

Ooh, we like this one. The white meat chicken is shredded up real nice, with a lemon pecorino dressing. This is what a kale caesar should taste like. They even add big slices of "rainbow" carrots. Could have gone the usual route with slivered orange carrots, but nope: RED carrots and YELLOW carrots and even a MULTICOLOR carrot. Toto, I don't think we're in the bodega salad bar anymore.

Chicken Salad Sandwich

The shredded rotisserie chicken unfortunately flounders here under the influence of too much mayo.


The cornbread is fried, so it almost has the consistency of a poundcake. It tastes good, but it's a little dense and heavy.

Mac And Cheese

This mac and cheese is almost a soup, i.e. cheese with a side of noodles. It's not bad, but know what you're getting.

Sauteed Kale With Garlic

Get your semblance of health. These greens are approved.

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