Surprisingly robust menu caters to range of tastes.
The Ye Olde Durty Bird has been an intricate part of the re-emergence and attraction of downtown Toledo. The “about us/mission statement” proudly touts its roots, the history of the building, and a welcome to all-comers — and rightly so.
Our last visit to the gastropub was in 2013, and we were pleased to find similarities as well as some changes to the fare and entertainment. Servers were also helpful with our questions.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Address: 2 S. St. Clair St.
Phone: 419-243-BIRD (2473).
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Sundays and Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Wheelchair access: Yes.
Average price: $$-$$$
Credit cards: MC, V, D, AE.
Ratings: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Outstanding; ★ ★ ★ ★ Very Good; ★ ★ ★ Good; ★ ★ Fair; ★ Poor
Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants.
The Blade pays for critics’ meals.
On a dinnertime visit with two of my friends, we started with the confit chicken wings appetizer ($9.49). The menu declares: “You will love these wings,” which are slathered in the restaurant’s signature Durty sauce. Like a few of the confit dishes I have come across, these 10 wings were slow cooked and tender. (Friend 1 demonstrated this to me by picking up a piece as we watched it fall off the bone). The waiter was also happy to hear we wanted nothing to do with ranch dressing because the tangy and sweet Durty sauce, which comes with many selections on the menu, was more than enough.
MENU: Ye Olde Durty Bird
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Friend 1 was going to try the vegetarian burger ($9), but instead went with the next closest thing on the menu, the Durty Bird Deluxe ($11). OK, they are nowhere near the same dish. (He said the Durty sauce helped change his mind.) The Deluxe is a monstrous take on the Durty Bird ($9), which features chicken, aged cheddar, and bacon. Now, add loads of aged cheddar, sweet-heat bacon, slow roasted pulled pork, and coleslaw, and you get something tasty that resembles a sandwich. If the pulled pork was sweet and succulent, the bacon was divine. My friend had me try the maple-glazed strip of goodness placed underneath the fresh slaw. I savored the moment.
Friend 2 went with a dish that, along with the Durty burger ($9), was featured in our last review of the Durty Bird: the Cuban ($9.49). The Cuban has always been a favorite of mine, especially in visits to Southern Florida, and the Durty Bird’s doesn’t disappoint. With the mounds of black forest ham, pulled pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and cilantro honey mustard, I can say with conviction that this sandwich hasn’t missed a beat.
There is no upgrade to the Big Italian ($12.49) because it’s, well, big — a pound of pepperoni, black forest ham, Genoa salami, and mozzarella cheese. The sandwich is then grilled and topped with lettuce, tomato, smoked mayo, and olive tapenade. Our waiter suggested adding an onion, which I obliged. I also ordered a side of Italian dressing, but the olive tapenade was more than enough. I could only finish half the sandwich (a half pound of meat) at this sitting.
For a side, there are a few things I cannot turn down in this world, and gouda mac ‘n’ cheese with bacon and tomatoes is probably among them. Seriously, the restaurant is known for this side. You should order it. My friends were upset when I upgraded and they were left with their potato chips. The upgrade only adds $1.49 to the meal.
Our second visit was on a Sunday during brunch. We placed an order for some deep-fried Brussels sprouts with a balsamic vinegar glaze as an appetizer ($6.49). I am not sure why Brussels sprouts get a bad wrap. I’ve always enjoyed the dish — especially deep fried. The outside of the buds were flavorful and flaky and on the inside, all the vegetable goodness. The buds weren’t flooded with sauce either. The balsamic was the correct portion.
The Brussels sprouts are also part of the seasonal Christmas menu offered along with some prime rib and sweet potato dishes.
The big country open-face sandwich ($8.99) is a country-fried steak served with country gravy and two eggs on top with two pieces of bread. This dish alone is worth the trip to the Durty Bird on a Sunday afternoon. It, along with the Bloody Mary bar, are only available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. during Sunday brunch.
Lastly, my friend ordered the peppered salmon salad ($13.95 for a large; $11.95 for a small). A pile of medium-prepared salmon with quinoa, feta cheese, Greek dressing, and couscous graced the plate. They were piled on top of romaine lettuce, onions, and tomatoes. His only gripe was the romaine lettuce could have been a bit fresher.
He paired his salad with a glass of the Monkey Bay sauvignon blanc (about $6 a glass). This New Zealand white is known for its citrus and acidity. Just the right choice with his salad.
The Durty Bird isn’t a five star restaurant by any measure. But as bars that serve food go, it boasts a surprisingly robust menu that caters to a range of tastes.
Contact Bill of Fare at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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