People are flocking to a new restaurant on Tucson’s northwest side, where the food is anything but foul—indeed, it’s rather fowl. Bird: Modern Provisions and Bar is the latest offering from Fukushu Restaurant Concepts, the Tucson team behind Goodness: Fresh Fruit and Juice Bar and OBON Sushi Bar Ramen. More than a month after it opened in July, reservations were still a necessity for Saturday night. The Southern-food-with-Tucson-twist eatery was hopping, and it was easy to taste why.
A plate of Deviled Eggs ($7), garnished with mustard seeds, offered an exceptionally creamy texture and a nice smoky flavor, thanks to the combination of bacon crumbles and bacon fat whipped into the filling. A platter of Mussels ($14), tender and melt-in-our-mouths, had a distinctly regional spin with a tangy, bright green tomatillo salsa crudo, not to mention the sausage seasoned with shallots, garlic, fennel, and spices. The Hushpuppies ($8) are shellfish-free and veggie-friendly, with a thick, crispy exterior and a rich, sweet corn flavor, accompanied by a colorful pepper jelly made in-house with just the right amount of heat. Perhaps most memorable was the enigmatically named F.G.T. (fried green tomatoes; $10), a modern take that features chicken-fried green tomato steaks stacked with crispy pork, salsa verde, savory pimento cheese, and a fresh pile of greens. The blend of flavors and textures made this appetizer outstanding.
The entrees proved just as enjoyable. The Seared Duck Breast ($29) sat on a bed of kale leaves, creamy heirloom lima beans, and house-made chorizo. The slightly dry chorizo played well against the duck, and the appeal didn’t stop with texture. Executive chef Daniel Thomas says he tries to combine the two flavor profiles whenever possible: “The mildness of the duck with the touch of spice from the chorizo goes a long way.”
Beeler’s Pork Chop ($27) is named for Beeler’s Pure Pork, a small family farm in Iowa. “The time and care Tim and Julie Beeler put into their farm is absolutely remarkable,” Thomas says. He believes that care translates into better-tasting meat. Bird’s flavorful pork chop arrived resting on tender broccolini, with a just-sweet-enough piece of cornbread tucked to the side. Thomas gives the Beelers most of the credit for the flavorful chop, saying, “The flavor comes from the pork itself.” The addition of a house marinade and salt and pepper finishes off a dish that Thomas calls “by far one of the best proteins I have ever worked with.”
Of course, we had to try the food Bird is named for. Thomas says, “If there was going to be one menu item we hit out of the park each night, it has to be fried chicken.” The Fried Chicken Entrée ($19) is the result of Thomas’s travels all over the country to find the perfect approach to fried chicken. He keeps the process straightforward: “We use all-natural chicken that’s brined for 24 hours and then a simple buttermilk wash and flour dredge.” With a thick crispy crust and minimal grease, the chicken hit all the right notes. With the golden brown, lightly sweet waffles, juicy watermelon cubes sprinkled with a house-made take on Tajin, and Tabasco honey for dipping and drizzling, this plate was a solid win for briners and chicken-and-waffles fans alike.
Thomas say the inspiration behind Bird’s menu is “using simple, seasonal, and local ingredients.” While aiming to “stay Southern” and “stay true to what each ingredient has to offer,” Bird also aims to modernize some of the more traditional dishes on their menu. Owned and operated by Tucson locals who are committed to working with local ingredients, Bird is definitely the word for an eatery worth checking out.
Bird: Modern Provisions & Bar
7109 N Oracle Rd
Tucson, AZ 85704