Mystery Diner in Sycamore: Hard to imagine better fried chicken than at The Dirty Bird Chicken Joint
By MYSTERY DINER
Without having tried every piece of fried chicken in DeKalb County, it’s not fair to say the chicken at The Dirty Bird Chicken Joint is the best in the county. But it’s hard to imagine any better.
The fried chicken stole the show at The Dirty Bird, golden brown and crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, and just the right blend of flavors to highlight the experience.
The portions are also gigantic at the restaurant, more than offsetting slightly above average prices for a fried chicken joint.
Like the fried chicken, the fried pickles are completely above and beyond what you normally would expect of the dish. Clearly homemade, the huge slices are battered and deep-fried, and again, as with the chicken, the batter complements the pickle, a hard feat to pull off sometimes in the fried pickle game.
The onion rings were also exceptional and bursting with flavor. The batter didn’t always cling to the onions, making for some batter-only pieces. That rubs some people the wrong way, but I found the batter delicious enough to carry the day on its own.
The waffles in the chicken and waffle dish were outdone by the already extraordinary chicken, although the syrup was a great condiment for the poultry.
The fries were standard, but the other sides excelled.
The fried cauliflower was great, and joining the cauliflower, onion rings and pickles in the sampler were fried mushrooms. They were solid, and the mushroom taste dominated. Your mileage may vary depending on what you’re looking for with that flavor profile.
And while the chicken strips were fine but not in the same celestial league as the fried chicken, the younger eaters enjoyed them more. They create a de facto kids menu in a way.
The coleslaw, one of the few non-fried things on the menu, was drenched in mayonnaise. So again, your mileage will vary depending on your thoughts about how you like coleslaw. There is a slight vinegar taste underneath it all, but the mayonnaise is dominant at the start.
Like the chicken strips, the pork chop sandwich is OK, the ultra-thin chop spilling way outside the bun, making it look almost comically large. It is a savory alternative if you don’t want the fried chicken.
And dessert was excellent – both the fried Oreos and fried cookies - which seemed to be chocolate chip. Both were great, though if I had to pick, I’d choose the cookies. They are more subtle than the Oreos, which become super-sweet after the icing melts.
At this Sycamore eatery, people are sure to find some personal favorites on the menu.
• The Mystery Diner is a Daily Chronicle employee who reports on their experience at local restaurants. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a story.