Crispy Bird has been on my radar for over a year. Part of Patachou, Inc., the Martha Hoover food empire that graces Indianapolis with cinnamon toast and everything else good in the world, this southern-style fried chicken restaurant has the bold goal to “de-stereotype” the fried chicken experience. Martha’s own son, David, is the creative chef in the cozy space at 49th/Pennsylvania, across the street from three other Patachou brand restaurant options.
I love fried chicken and I love everything from Patachou, Inc., so I made dinner a priority and checked it out the day after the grand opening. The menu is small. And it’s definitely centered around chicken, with few alternative options if you happen to be in the mood for something else. The atmosphere is stylish and chic with pretty tight seating, so not the best place for a big party or for huge winter coats.
As usual when visiting somewhere new, I like to try a bit of everything. Thankfully, my sister joined me, so we decided to split Buttermilk Biscuits with Whipped Maple Brown Butter ($6), Twice-Baked Potatoes ($8), and Apple Maple Ice-Cream Tart ($6). For my entree, I ordered the Fried Chicken Breast with Coleslaw and Pickles ($14) while my sister tried the Charcoal Grilled Chicken Breast with the same accompaniments ($14). Sadly, we did not order the Mac n’ Cheese, which I have been told is life-changing. The entire meal is ordered at once so the kitchen and servers can pace the food accordingly. The beer and wine list has been selected to specifically pair with all the items on the menu, so that definitely helped with selection as we decided to share the Trimbach Pinot Blanc.
Let’s start with the good parts first: Service was amazing the entire time. It’s obvious the restaurant is trying to be classy with frequent check-ins, stylish plating, and folded napkins. I was impressed. I was also blown away by the biscuits as they were, for sure, the best I have ever tasted in my life. Potatoes were a solid choice and definitely left me wanting more. Timing of dinner was perfect, with the right balance of a slowed pace without feeling like we were waiting forever.
Now the bad parts: The chicken. It wasn’t that good. It was pretty dry. And boring. For something that was supposed to be the highlight of the meal, I was definitely disappointed. It needed some spices or dipping sauce or SOMETHING! Portion sizes were pretty small, which I know is part of the “anti” stereotype thing, but I could have gone for some more food. And the dessert, which sounded like the perfect winter choice, was cold! I just assumed an apple tart would be soft and warm with dripping cream and maple sauce, but it was surprisingly chilled, which was a sad ending to our comforting meal on a freezing night.
So, there you go. I know, I know, there will be haters who strongly disagree, so more chicken for them, but I’m gonna wait to go back until the chicken has a stronger presence than the sides.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
115 E. 49th Street
Indianapolis IN 46205
Open Tuesday-Saturday 11am–9pm