Two Birds – Bird in the Hand Sandwich
2222 Michelson Dr · Irvine, CA 92612
Farm Fresh Jidori Chicken. First thing on the menu signboard at Two Birds. All the words are familiar except one. What exactly is Jidori?
Jidori is the Kobe beef of poultry, a variety common in Japan but only recently being adopted into the American culinary mainstream. An all-vegetarian diet, free-range roaming privileges, and the absence of juiced up antibiotics results in organic fowl with unrivalled, robust flavor, and unbeatable succulence. Meaning ‘Chicken of the Earth,’ Jidori is super fresh – delivered within 24 hours of being slaughtered.
Two Birds, a brand new locale at the Trade Food Hall in Irvine, proudly dishes up this type of chicken. The menu features a sandwich, a salad, and fried poultry pieces in a bag, with a handful choice of sides. It’s a focused selection of items that highlights the Jidori star of the show.
Aptly named ‘Bird in the Hand,’ the chicken sandwich is equipped with a choice of grilled or crispy meat, topped with a heaping of coleslaw, and jazzed up with a liberal slathering of Tiger sauce, all between cornmeal buns. A sliced pickle accompanies each sandwich on the side. For the crispy option, the chicken is not your typical rounded, breaded patty – it’s a massive piece of meat with extra breading all around jutting out in all directions.
Best part of fried chicken is the crispy exterior (what else?). All those browned bumpy grooves and rocky edges produce a mighty crunch with every mouthful, shattering into smithereens when bitten into. It’s an overly satisfying textural experience, one that will make your mouth smile. Two Birds achieves fried chicken that is extra crispy without being greasy, juicy without being fatty. The dark meat itself is succulent and tender; the fact that Jidori chicken is never frozen means there is no loss of texture you normally get from bringing protein under zero degrees. Moreover, the seasoning is on point – boldness without being unbearably salty. This might very well be some of the best fried chicken around.
Cole slaw piles onto the rocky mountainous top of the Jidori, a combination of cabbage and carrots contributing crunch and color to the concoction. Subtle sweetness from the veggies counterbalances the poultry’s savoriness. Tiger sauce gets splashed over the top, a spicy and peppery jab that jumps out at your taste buds.
Toasted on both sides, the buns crisp up along the edges. Meanwhile the middle is soft and yielding, making the perfect pairing for the protein’s pecan-colored coating. Both bread pieces are given a judicious spread of the creamy sauce that rounds out the flavors and brings everything together.
Two Birds offers a trio of sauces for your meal. Tiger sauce is an Asian mayo sauce, tasting similar to a Sriracha mayo blend. Fry sauce is Two Birds’ version of the In-n-Out standout, studded with specks of freshly ground black pepper. Creamy herb is a chimichurri style sauce, thinner than the others with its citrusy and tart flair.
A Bird in the Hand costs a reasonable 9 dollars, double chicken for an additional 4. A premium price is expected for a premium piece of meat. True to form, two birds are better than one. The extra protein in the double makes for a heftier sandwich, one that is much more filling and even crunchier. Another 4 George Washingtons gets an order of classic cottage fries, paired with a mix of their sauces.
Jidori is the way to go nowadays. A far cry from the bland, plumped up, mass produced chickens, jidori meat is robust and better tasting overall. Taste the difference for yourself with not one, but Two Birds!