When I first moved to Atlanta and I asked around for breakfast places, I was told (overwhelmingly so) that I just had to
try West Egg Café. I’ve had brunch there twice now but this review isn’t about West Egg (which is probably good, if we’re being honest).
It’s about Odd Bird. The pop up restaurant within a restaurant. The inception of restaurants.
Odd Bird hatched on April 1st with a declaration that made most of Atlanta squeal with excitement and made me roll my eyes:
A restaurant within a restaurant, Oddbird brings you fried chicken biscuits, hot chicken, and chicken & waffles, Wednesday – Saturday nights in the space usually hopping with West Egg’s breakfast, lunch and brunch guests.
Let me walk you through my reaction to this in a bullet point list:
- Oddbird. I love that name.
- Chicken and biscuits/waffles? That sounds good.
- Ugh, chicken and biscuits/waffles. Really? I mean. I know it’s a Southern
thing. We’re in Atlanta. Can’t we get something new? Every damn restaurant
already has shrimp and grits on the menu, are we really…whatever.
- It’s too bad I’ll never try this place.
- If they’re going to do this it better be out of this world.
- I need to work on being more positive.
Eventually my curiosity got the best of me. I joined a friend after work on a Friday and had my first Oddbird experience. Those of you who haven’t been yet but have visited West Egg will definitely notice a difference when you walk in.
First things first – try not to get distracted by the glorious desserts in the case to your right. Walk up to the counter, grab a
menu and order there.
Everything is a la carte and nothing is particularly “cheap” – I was okay with this. I will pay a pretty penny if the food is worth it, and I was willing to take that risk with Oddbird on my first visit.
I ordered Chicken Biscuit #2 (spicy honey, bread & butter pickles), a side of macaroni and cheese and a Second Self IPA. My friend ordered the chicken and waffles with thyme butter and rosemary infused syrup.
After you order and pay at the counter, they hand you a number to place on your table. You can walk down to the bar which is normally full of brunching hipsters and grab your drink. They also have a bin full of wrapped silverware and a water station.
I grabbed everything I could and settled in at a table. I was surprised it wasn’t busier. In fairness to Oddbird it was a Friday and it was raining. It was also the first day of Sweetwater 420 Fest and it took me an hour to get from the Marriot Marquis downtown to Howell Mill Road. I would assume the dining room has been a bit busier on better days!
Well here it is. The moment of truth. The food came out pretty quickly and my first thought was “Holy $#!* that is a huge piece of chicken.” Already the fact that I had spent over $20 (before tip) on the meal was negated by the fact it looked like I had a half of bird on my tray.
Visually? It was stunning.
I went for the macaroni and cheese first and let me tell you. If it was a man I’d have a torrid affair with it. Sometimes I say I would marry certain foods, but no. This creamy, cheesy goodness is too amazing to selfishly keep to myself. An affair works. This was the best grown up macaroni and cheese I have had in the South since the day I moved here. This macaroni and cheese was everything. EVERYTHING. In fact, I’m writing this before 9 a.m. and now all I want is some. Nothing else will do.
The chicken biscuit was clinically insane. The outside was crisp and you get a nice solid “CRUNCH” when you bite into it or cut it. The inside (thank goodness) wasn’t dry at all. I didn’t bother to try and eat it like a sandwich. I used a fork and a knife and didn’t care how dumb I looked. The spicy honey was subtle enough that it didn’t over power anything on the
plate. A hint of sweet and a hint of spice was the perfect complement to a perfectly fried piece of chicken.
Now the biscuit is a food I could marry…sturdy enough to withhold the size and intensity of the chicken, but inside was fluffy enough to make you wish you were eating this in bed. Wait. What?
Everything about the experience was a win. I was skeptical – I feel strongly that if you’re going to do something as iconic as chicken biscuits or chicken and waffles it’s not enough to be okay. You have to kill it. You have to go above and beyond – and Oddbird did. The service was great and the food is worth coming back for. I really hope that this becomes a permanent feature over in the West Egg space.