From left: chicken, waffles.
From left: chicken, waffles.
Kathryn DeBruler

Even a Fried Chicken Breakfast Burrito Can't Save the Bland New Brunch at Street's Fine Chicken

91.3. According to the National Chicken Council, that’s how many pounds of chicken Americans will have consumed, per capita, in 2017. If that projection holds, it will mean that we as a country ate more of our fine, feathered friends than ever before in one year. And can you blame us? Chicken is a cheap source of protein — 166 percent less expensive than pork and 336 percent less expensive than beef, on average. And because of its neutral flavor, chicken lends itself to a wide array of recipes and cuisines, everything from coq au vin to tandoori.

It makes sense, then, that we’ve seen a crop of yardbird-centric restaurants pop up in recent years, from Chicken Scratch to Whistle Britches to Street's Fine Chicken. Street’s — named after its originators, the father-son restaurateurs Gene and Marco Street — opened its first location on Cedar Springs in 2015. A second location on Forest Lane opened earlier this year. And with promises of hormone-free, Texas-reared chicken brined in lemon, sea salt and herbs de Provence, Street’s casts its siren-cluck to hungry omnivores far and wide.

Being hungry omnivores ourselves, we stopped in at the Cedar Springs location to try out its new brunch. Street’s likes to set the tone before you open the menu with portraits of magnificent chickens adorning the main wall, egg-shaped salt and pepper shakers, and yolk-yellow vinyl covering the booth seats.

The brunch menu, which prices all entrees at $10, is less chicken-centered than its lunch and dinner equivalents. Nonchicken options consist of quiche, brioche French toast and biscuits and gravy. Despite the beady, watchful eyes of the painted chickens looming overhead, we quickly set our sights on the two poultry options: chicken and waffles and a fried chicken-stuffed burrito. When life presents you with two paths, you take the path that's been dredged and fried until golden.

While the menu denotes that the dish comes with a boneless breast, a bone-in breast can and should be substituted. The bone not only imparts extra flavor into the meat but also serves as a helpful reminder that you might want to make tofu your next meal’s protein source, lest the 91-pound per capita average become 92.

The chicken was flavorful — owing to that salty, lemony brine — but verged on being dry everywhere except for close to the bone. Its thick, craggy crust provided a satisfying crunch and little notes of freshness thanks to herbs de Provence running throughout. It was served beside a deflated-looking waffle, the pair looking positively discordant. This dish begs for a more kingly presentation, with the breast resting atop a sturdy, deep-pocketed waffle before being crowned in syrup, gravy or both. Street's some-assembly-required version ultimately wants for something more — a better visual representation, a juicer breast and a crunchier, more substantial waffle.

The breakfast burrito didn't fare better. Despite a drool-inducing ingredient list — fried chicken, scrambled eggs, pimento cheese fritters — the burrito could barely manage to induce a yawn. Sapped of any distinguishable flavor or texture, this bore-rito couldn't hold its weight against its fast-food equivalents. It ultimately became a conveyor for Sin Killer, Street's devilishly good hot sauce. This vinegary, piquant and cumin-laced sauce worked condiment overtime at our table. We found it provided deliverance from the lackluster burrito and that it made the $5 bloody marys and chicken and waffles better, too.

In the infamous words of oil tycoon and brunch extraordinaire Alaster P. Bacon, "A good brunch needs no condiment." While brunch is all about coating one thing in another (we're looking at you, hollandaise), one shouldn't have to introduce an outside flavor source into the brunch-bed to get some semblance of excitement. Ultimately, Street's Fine Chicken felt more like Street's OK Chicken, making its brunch a passable one.

Street's Fine Chicken, 3857 Cedar Springs Road. Brunch served 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.


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