I’m forever on a quest to find awesome chicken wings. I’ve read before that Dirty Birds has topped a few lists. Jinxi did a post about Dirty Birds recently that got me thinkin’ it was about time I check it out. Jake plays softball down in Pacific Beach on Sundays and my friend Laura joined us for some post-softball grub.
In case you didn’t know, this is definitely a sports bar. Just a few things give it away…
TVs line the whole bar all the way around so you can zone out and watch ALL THE SPORTS. I don’t care about no sports, I’m here for the foods!
[tater tots / $4]
Jake and I love tater tots so we ordered a basket. There’s an option to add garlic + Parmesan for an additional $2 but I wanted to try the tots “au natural” to see if they were good on their own. I’m happy to report that they are delicious! Wonderfully crunchy and super crisp, these tots had a nice exterior coating. The inside was pipping hot and a little creamy from the smooth inside. They tasted a tiny bit greasy though I can live with that when the crunch is so perfect. I especially liked dipping these in the ranch sauce that came with our wings.
[honey hot wings and apple bourbon chipotle / 10 pieces for $12]
Dirty Birds has a crazy amount of sauces to choose from for your wings. 32 different sauces (and you can also choose to get them sans sauce) to be exact! The sheer number of options makes it fun to come here and try the wings – you can get something different every time! We decided to spring for the 10 piece wings and split it between two sauces. Jake and I choose the honey hot and Laura choose the apple bourbon chipotle.
The wings themselves seemed to be a little on the small side. A few wings were kind of tiny. I didn’t find the wings to be very meaty either and the outside wasn’t super crispy. A few of the wings were also a little on the dry side. The honey hot sauce had a mild honey taste to it – and it definitely wasn’t hot or spicy (the little chart on their menu said these would be “medium” spiced but I don’t even think it was that). The apple bourbon chipotle (mild) was probably my favorite of the two. It had a touch of sweetness to it but I couldn’t really detect any other really distinct flavors.
Suffice it to say, I didn’t really find these to be “the best” wings ever. I think it’s more like “the best sauce options ever, if you can find a sauce you love”. I’d come back and try some other sauces though. There’s tons more to choose from and if you come on one of their specials days, it would be worth it. On Mondays they have All You Can Eat Wings for $13.99 from 6PM-11PM and on Tuesdays they have all night happy hour where the wings are half off.
[slim shady – fried cheese cheeseburger sliders / $11]
The last thing we shared was a trio of sliders. The “fried cheese” cheeseburger sounded the most interesting to us. Like… what? I couldn’t quite imagine what this would look or taste like. My brain couldn’t wrap itself around that concept but when I saw it, it made more sense! The menu stated that this was a local favorite (the regular sized one, anyway) and that it would “blow your mind”. Hmm. Okay.
The fried cheese is just that – a big cheese crisp! It’s like the fried cheese they put on the tacos at Puesto or a Parmesan cheese crisp – except using cheddar. It looks quite dramatic and almost like a little cheese sled for your burger. These are served on some toasted soft rolls with all of the fixings. I loved the idea of this little slider and I wanted it to “blow my mind”… but my little slider burger was totally overcooked and tasted really dry. It also needed more seasoning as it was kind of bland. The fried cheese crisp didn’t really do a whole lot for me either as it also tasted overcooked. Jake really liked his slider and he swapped with me (because he’s the best boyfriend ever) and his slider tasted way better than mine – it was actually a little juicy. Laura’s didn’t taste great, either. Sliders are really easy to overcook though so perhaps this would be better in it’s original full sized format.
We got a side with the sliders and picked the macaroni and cheese. Before we picked it, we asked our waitress what kind of macaroni and cheese it was since once we went to a bar and they served Kraft mac and cheese. Which is fine… when you’re at home and there’s nothing else to eat and you’re in your sweatpants and you do NOT want to go out because you’re binge watching something on Netflix… but maybe when you’re out away from home you kind of except MORE than Kraft. She assured us that this was “real” macaroni and cheese and definitely not Kraft – hooray! They use big elbow noodles for the mac and a basic cheddar sauce for the cheese. I wished it had been a little creamier but it wasn’t too bad. Definitely better than Kraft but not the greatest mac ever.
It seems like most of what we had was a bit lackluster… except for those really awesome tater tots (which I read you can also get “LOADED” aka with cheese and meats put on top). Would I come back? I would – but probably only on a specials day to try more wings flavors to see if anything really catches my fancy.
4656 Mission Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92109