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Chef Joe Bosworth has hit on something seriously good with his menu at Firebird. We opt for a Firebird sandwich, served spicy rather than mild (functionally a “medium” heat, we’re told).

A massive, juicy, crisp-coated piece of buttermilk-marinated fried chicken breast forms a more-than-admirable core for this ’wich, where it’s paired with pickled jalapeño slaw and smoky Korean chile mayo. The slaw adds crunch and acidity more than direct heat, but the spicy mayo contributes modest smoke and a hint of fruitiness. Good stuff; and that medium heat assessment is right on.

Side tater tots, included, rate fine with a crunchy jacket. We also order a Dragon Bowl, which offers naked-fried sweet-and-spicy sesame chicken atop a bed of sticky rice and cucumber “kim chee slaw.”

The sizable chunks of chicken bear a toothsome exterior and juicy interior with a nice sweet-spicy flavor. Most of the heat from this considerably spicy dish comes from that kimchi, though, which adds a slow-building burn and some salty, pickle-y brightness to finish what we can happily call a lovely plate of food.

Griffin Swartzell is a food reviewer and contributor for the Colorado Springs Indy. This Colorado Springs native joined as an intern in early 2014, freelancing until they joined the staff full-time in late 2015.