Cozied up to the bar, I’m sitting with a burger at Dallas' new-ish chicken restaurant, and it prompts questions: Do poultry-focused restaurants need a cheeseburger? Why did Street's put one on the menu? Is it even about “need”? Why in cluck’s name am I the one complaining about a cheeseburger on a menu?
The short answer to the chicken question (not the one about it crossing the road) is: No, they don’t need it.
Street’s Fine Chicken opened on Cedar Springs earlier this year. It’s the brainchild of Gene Street, who held the Black-Eyed Pea location in the same spot for decades. Liberty Burger, the burger chain, runs in their family too. In case you missed it, Liberty Burger serves stellar and affordable burgers. They’re easily some of the most consistently delicious chain burgers in the state (Texas Monthly ranked the Chillerno burger in their burger issue).
Inside and out at Street’s, the primary focus is chicken. Famous paintings with people replaced by chicken are drawn into the side of the building. I particularly love American Gothic, except with weird, angry chickens instead of farmers. There’s fried chicken skins with chili-lime salt and a crispy chicken sandwich and a chicken pot pie. The latter is a deeply-satisfying comfort bath.
I order the burger, which promises a blend chuck, tenderloin and brisket blend on toasted brioche for 11 bucks. It arrives after 10-or-so minutes, topped with fresh Bibb lettuce, generously-melted havarti, pickled onions, and a herb-powerful aioli. I hadn’t been asked how I wanted it cooked, so I give it a slice down the center. The patty’s got a crusty sear from the flat-top, but it’s overcooked. Some of the best burgers will send juices running down your arm when you hold a half in your hand. My burger is medium-well, teetering to well done as it sat.
There should be a rule for burgers that aren't smashed-thin: Please, always, ask how the customer prefers it to be cooked. I love medium rare — especially if I’m paying more than 10 or 15 bucks for the good beef.
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Street’s toppings are fantastic: The brioche bun is soft, but sturdy enough to soak up the big flavor of the aioli (roasted garlic, parsley and herbs Provence) and the pickled onions make for electricity-like pops of acid. The sauce and the onions made for a Thanksgiving-quality that fit in with the chicken theme. But the sandwich, as a whole, feels like it crowds the menu.
With so many chicken winners, why complicate things with a burger? Partner and exec chef Tony Street says that they were getting requests to expand their menu, and "we figured a great burger would be a crowd pleaser."
With great toppings, and an over-10 buck burger, I felt like I wanted more. Keep your eye on the pot pie ball, and you'll be good at Street's.
Street's Fine Chicken is at 3857 Cedar Springs Road