There’s also turkey and goose at FireBird Fowl, which opened Sept. 20, 2021.
New restaurant FireBird Fowl in Uptown Dallas was initially going to be a Nashville hot chicken joint. But co-owners Tim Summers and David Taylor changed their minds, after the spicy bird has out-trended itself already in Dallas.
But what about a turkey concept, Taylor thought.
“We didn’t want to pigeon-hole ourselves,” Taylor says. “Sorry about the pun.”
So Summers and Taylor decided to launch a bird-themed restaurant, where the menu is emu, ostrich, game hen, turkey, chicken and the like. No beef here.
“Then we started having fun,” Taylor says.
What results is a punny restaurant that flies hard on the bird theme. FireBird Fowl opened Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, in a restaurant space near the Crescent hotel that once held Uptown hot spots Martini Ranch and Nick & Sam’s Grill.
The two-story restaurant has been redesigned to feel slightly clubby, though FireBird Bowl’s co-owners intend for it to be more of a restaurant than bar. Upstairs is a bar called the nest; the air-conditioned and heated patio is the coop; and a corner table is the birdcage.
They’re calling the menu “ranch to table,” with birds mostly from Austin and Nashville.
The blanco queso comes with ostrich in it — and it’s not as odd as it sounds. The emu fajitas taste kind of like lean beef, and they’re served with duck fat bacon black beans and the usual fajita fixins.
Executive chef Ben Smallman, who has worked at Eataly markets around the country, including in Dallas, created the menu at FireBird. He’s got a ground ostrich burger that comes medium rare and juicy, and a turkey burger with mushrooms and a sage-rosemary spread.
The turkey burger is called Pardon Me. (Giggle.)
“If you put it in a format that’s familiar, people will order it,” Smallman says.
He’s working on adding a veggie burger for the menu — yes, a rare non-bird item — and they plan to call it the Free Bird.
Other items include ostrich-stuffed mushrooms; fried, twisted potatoes cooked in duck fat; emu meatballs; quail poppers with jalapeños and bourbon cream cheese, wrapped in duck bacon; and “Pterodactyl wings,” which are actually big chicken wings and not extinct reptiles.
The Duck Duck Goose charcuterie board comes with duck pastrami, duck pâté and goose pâté (aka, foie gras). It’s one of the ways Smallman can flex his culinary skill while still sticking to the theme.
He’s also making tikka masala, swapping the usual chicken for Cornish game hen. And there’s ostrich lasagna and chicken-fried emu, too.
The co-owners plan to make this a boozy brunch spot, one they hope ends with a sweet treat from their other company, DizziBrands. In 2020, a change in TABC permitting made it impossible to see their alcoholic ice cream in venues like country clubs and concert halls. So now, they’ll sell DizziBrands’ 21-and-up ice cream solely at FireBird Fowl. Popular flavors include vanilla bourbon and bananas foster.
At FireBird’s bar, nearly all of the wines are bird-based in logo or in name: There’s Duckhorn, Decoy, Banshee and more. The restaurant also has a full bar, with similarly themed cocktails.
So what do you think: Is this bird-themed place a fowl idea or is it pheasant enough to try?
I had to.
FireBird Fowl is at 2816 Fairmount St., Dallas. It opened Sept. 20, 2021. Dinner only for the first few weeks; lunch comes later.