For some reason, this article did not publish in September so, I wanted to share my opinion with you and am publishing it now. Keep in mind that in two months, any negatives may well have been fixed and warrants a visit to them during the holiday season if you are so inclined.
I had the priviledge to enjoy one of the first test-runs of the new “Firebirds Wood Fired Grill” located on US-202. just north of the Delaware State line in Chadds Ford. The name, reminiscent of the Pontiac Firebird car, is appropriate because the restaurant is on the site of an ill-fated Mitsubushi auto dealership. The building was brand new around 2000 but, seemed to be open only a year or so. Also on the property is a pad site that was “Cheeburger, Cheeburger” a 50’s themed hamburger joint that was open only slightly longer than the car dealership.
Firebirds is a small chain based out of Charlotte with locations in North Carolina, Virginia, Newark, DE, Erie, PA plus Birmingham, Omaha, Memphis, Tucson and Phoenix., The building has been completely re-done with a layered stone look and the restaurant is very modern with a classy-looking design. Inside is a large fireplace for looks and a bar with a backlit wall of colorful bottles. The open kitchen is at the back with flames from the wood-fired grill peeking above the counter.
After checking in, my wife and I waited in the small, outdoor patio area. There are about ten tables as well as a couple of comfy-looking chairs and couches which were already occupied. There was no service out there and I ordered drinks at the bar and took them out. At one point complimentary chicken quesadillas were offered and I have to say the cheese-bean mix was unusually tasty.
We were finally called and seated after nearly an hour wait and were pleased to learn that this trial service was totally complimentary except for alcohol and tip. After a short time a beer and appetiser was ordered. The beer took a while and the waiter apologized saying the bar was “backed up”.
Shortly thereafter, the appetiser arrived…a plate of two medium-sized cakes of lump crabmeat seasoned with Old Bay® seasoning and rolled in panko breadcrumbs. The look of these cakes was different and can best be described as looking the way an uncut english Muffin looks. They were served with tortilla slaw and mango habañero chutney. Near Maryland, the land of the crab cake, it is hard to find one improved upon but, the cakes and chutney were different and DELICIOUS.
My wife had a 7oz filet and skewer of shrimp and a “loaded” baked potato. I ordered the pepper-crusted sirloin with french fries. We shared and the review is that based on this tasting, I would not go there for a steak. Both cuts were ordered “medium”. The filet was juicy but, lacked much flavor. The sirloin was flat out dry and also not very flavorful. Had I paid for the meal, I would have sent it back but, did not want to waste the food.
The shrimp, on the other hand, were basted in Key Lime butter and quite tasty. The french fries were large, about 1/2 inch cuts, and were crispy outside and soft inside. The baked potato was dry with not enough sour cream, chive and cheese topping which made it dry as welll.
The verdict overall? In a word: “Dry” and needing a bit more flavor as far as the meat was concerned. The atmosphere and appetisers however were well above average and I feel it is only a short matter of time before the quality of the food and service is top notch. After the meal, I introduced myself to General Manager Sean Caviston who pointed out that the restaurant wasn’t even officially open until September 12 and I agree.
The location is good, just north of Concord Mall near affluent North Wilmington, Chadds Ford, Garnet Valley and Concordville. It is an upscale and “trendy” looking place in the style of Redstone, P.F. Changs and Sullivan’s and the staff seemed genuinely concerned about our satisfaction.
Dinner entrees price in the $20-$30 range. On a 1-5 scale with 5 being best, I would give it a 3 if it were an already up and running restaurant but, I will give them the benefit of the doubt as they work out the kinks and place them at a 4 to 4.5.