The Widder Curry Goes to Dirty Birds

by on November 18, 2019 · 3 comments

in Ocean Beach

Restaurant Review

Dirty Birds Bar & Grille
1929 Cable Street
Ocean Beach, CA 92107

“Positively Negative or Negative Positivity?”

By Judi Curry

Have you ever stood over a sink where one side had hot water in it and the other side had cold water in it and you have your hands in both sides of water? If you haven’t let me tell you that the brain does not really know how to register the sensation.  That is how this review will pan out – good and bad equates to what?

It was another get-together of three widows going out to lunch together on a relatively cool, windless day.  There are many new restaurants in the Ocean Beach area, and I remember a long time ago eating at a Dirty Birds somewhere in San Diego.  As I recalled, the food was good, but we never went back, probably because it was far from our house.  The widows usually leave it up to me as to where we go for lunch and I thought it might be fun to try this restaurant as something different for us.  And different it was!

First of all there were over twenty people in the restaurant when we walked in. Some were at the bar; some were at the long picnic-style tables in the dining area.  And, the first thing we all noticed was that every one of the patrons was male!  (I teased Candy and Irene by telling them I was doing everything I could to find them a companion!)

The second thing we all noticed was how cold the restaurant was.  The doors and windows were all open, and even though Candy and Irene had on long-sleeves, it was still uncomfortable.  We sat in the extreme back of the dining area, away from the open windows, but it was still uncomfortable.  And if you want to talk about “uncomfortable” – the picnic-style benches were very uncomfortable.  Now I have a lot of “padding”, but it was still uncomfortable. I didn’t say anything, but mid-way into the meal both Irene and Candy mentioned it.  Candy even said that she looked for a booth or table with a cushion and found that there was one, but it was too close to the open door and she felt it would be worse than where we finally ended up.

Better hamburger slider. All photos by Judi Curry

This, then, is the beginning of the “negative” aspect to our visit to Dirty Birds.

In case you have not been there and do not know about the restaurant, it is billed as a “Sports Bar.”  I cannot tell you how many televisions there are, but there are a lot, and almost every one is showing a different sports activity.   And, after much discussion and consternation, the Ocean Beach Dirty Birds received a beer and wine license.  Presently, they close their doors at 10:00pm, but the plan is to stay open longer during the summer months.

Let’s talk about the very extensive menu, because, after all, that is what a restaurant review is all about.  There are many different items on the menu, beginning with over 30 varieties of Wings, all served with a variety of sauces.

There are even “boneless wings” for those that don’t want to get their hands dirty!  There are a variety of 15 Appetizers;  different chicken items; salads, burgers, sandwiches (called “Sandos”) and Tacos; Sliders, Sides, and Desserts.  Additionally there is a “Kid’s Menu”, with all items on it $6.95.

Chicken sandwich

Besides the extensive beer and wine menu, there is a drink menu also.  I noticed that on Tuesday they have an “All Day Happy Hour” where you get ½ off Bone-in Wings and on Wednesday there are Boneless Wings ½ off every pound of wings ordered.  These are “dine-in” specials only, and there are no “to-go” boxes available on these specials.

I also noticed only one veggie item,  (Veggie Wrappers Delight – $12.95 – which was Red and green bell peppers, tomato, cucumber, mix greens, carrots, avocado, mozzarella cheese, basil pesto rolled in a grilled flour tortilla.) There were several  salads that a vegan could order, and maybe they could be tweaked a bit to satisfy dietary requirements. When I asked if they had any gluten-free items I was told “not at this time.”

Irene decided that she would try the “Cool Ranch Chicken Sandwich ($13.95), which consisted of a grilled chicken breast, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato with Ranch dressing served on a warm bun.  It was served with either French Fries or “Tots.”

Candy ordered the “Honey BBQ Pulled Pork Slider ($11.95), billed as “IPA simmered pulled pork cooked in honey BBQ sauce, topped with coleslaw. It came with her choice of Fries/ Tots/ Pasta Salad/ Dirty Potato Chips and for $1 more could have had Mac&Cheese/ Salad or Onion Rings. And, for $1.00 more she could have added Cheddar cheese to the slider.

Shrimp Basket

I settled on the “Shrimp Basket” ($14.95) which was grilled or fried shrimp tossed in my favorite wing sauce. (I could order any of the sauces listed with the variety of wings.)  There were 10 pieces of shrimp, and this was ordered from the “Appetizer” menu.

And, once again, we are standing with one hand in hot water and one is in cold water.

Let me begin by saying that the food we received was excellent.  Irene said she has never had French Fries that were as tasty as the ones she received with her meal.  When she ordered her meal she specified that she wanted the bacon crisp, and it was.  The sandwich, although messy, was large enough for her to take half of it home.  She was delighted with the flavors and would order it again.

Candy, although liking the slider that she got, was not served what she had ordered.  Instead of the BBQ Pulled Pork, she was served a Classic Slider, which was beef or ground turkey made any way she wanted it.  Except, of course, she didn’t order it so it came the way the Chef wanted it served. When we called it to our server’s attention he went back to check his order, and found that the error was his fault – not the kitchen’s.  He had hit the wrong button.  His comment to us was “ . . . there are just too many items.”

He offered to take it back and bring her what she ordered, but she said it was very good, and she would keep it.  I suggested that since the BBQ Pork order was to have Cole Slaw on top, perhaps she could get an order of that since she was keeping the wrong order.  Our server quickly agreed, and brought her a large portion of Cole Slaw, which Candy said was very good.  (The server also only charged her half of the price of the BBQ Pork.)

When I placed my order for the Shrimp, I was asked if I wanted it grilled or Fried.  I asked for it fried. I could also order the kind of sauce that I wanted with the shrimp.  I ordered the Honey Mustard sauce.  Then our server asked if I wanted the shrimp mixed with the sauce or did I want the sauce on the side.  I said I wanted it on the side.  Well….maybe it was just a bad day for the server, because the shrimp was mixed with the sauce and there was a side of “Ranch Dressing”.

Although the shrimp was good, and I might order it again, it was terribly messy to eat; I could not enjoy it as much because it was so “wet” that the breading fell apart while trying to eat it.  (And because the tails were still on the shrimp, I needed to use my fingers to separate the tail from the shrimp.)  We were served wet towelettes so we could clean off our hands before we left the restaurant.

There you have it – there were negatives and positives.  I think the positives outweighed the negatives, because the food was delicious, even though not quite what we ordered.  But as to whether we would physically eat there again is up for discussion.  Maybe on a very warm day; maybe if the benches had cushions – or we brought our own.  There is no question that we would definitely order take-out; and there are many different menu items available for  almost every taste.  All in all, when we thawed out, we were pleased with our lunch.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Judi Curry November 18, 2019 at 11:27 am

I forgot to mention that Irene ordered a coke and I ordered a Lemonade. Both were refilled as we emptied them.


GML November 18, 2019 at 1:53 pm

Thanks for the review Judi, enjoyed it as always. My wife and I have been several times now. It is definitely and open air sports bar. This is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on what you are looking for. If you do want to watch sports (we did), the TV setup is excellent as every seat seems to have a good view.

The food is excellent and every time we’ve been there the service has been as well. Never had to wait or wonder where our server was. Bummer you had a few order mix-ups that is never good although I also wouldn’t let it dissuade someone from trying them out.


Judi Curry November 18, 2019 at 2:49 pm

Thanks for the kind words. There is no doubt that the food was good. In fact, I am planning on a “take out” later this week. And not sure about the service because when we ordered we were the only ones ordering at that time. Everyone in the restaurant had already ordered and were served. But…I will go back because the food was good.


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: