Restaurant review: Mad Fox Brewing Company

04 October 2010

After Lyssa and I got her eyeglasses repaired this afternoon we wandered for a bit around Fairfax in Northern Virginia. It's been way too long since we'd gone wandering on a fall afternoon (and a surprisingly early one, at that) so after picking up some staple spices at Penzey's we decided to stop in for dinner at a restaurant that we'd last seen while under construction called the Mad Fox Brewing Company (444 West Broad Street; Falls Church, VA; 22046; phone 703-942-6840; fax 703-942-6916). Our first impression was that it seemed like a right nice place to kick back for a while, with big glass windows facing the plaza, a long-ish bar along the front, and comfortable looking tables and chairs to either side. On a lark we decided to stop in and give the fare a try.

Mad Fox's claim to fame is that they make just about everything they serve on site, and source the rest locally. The charcuterie plate we ordered had bits of artisinal proscuitto, salami, and even just-roasted pork belly along with a little marinara sauce and fresh-baked ciabatta bread. While I'm ordinarily not one for luncheonmeat I have to admit that it's quite good; when you're used to eating from the deli, anything made with that degree of care is amazing. The coffee's pretty good, it wouldn't surprise me if they had a Douwe-Egberts machine in the back keeping everyone caffeinated and happy. Lyssa seemed to enjoy her warm spinach salad quite a bit (though she gifted me the hard boiled eggs) and my own garden salad sported a delicate house vinaigrette dressing that accented only what needed to be accented but didn't overpower everything else. When you order a sandwich at Mad Fox, be prepared to take half of it home with you because they're large enough to feed two. The panini sandwiches we ordered (Lyssa got the Italian, I chose grilled chicked) were larger than my fully outstretched hand and were made with bread that they baked in house. The French fries were hand cut and not too bad, the ketchup also made in house but a bit lacking; the flavors might have been too delicate for me to detect. I think you could safely skip any appetizers and just order an entree' and you'd have more than enough food. For dessert Lyssa and I split a butterscotch sundae made with fresh, hot caramel and what I suspect was butterscotch ice cream made that day.

I don't like butterscotch. For my money, it's always tasted too much like plastic (which probably says more about the relative quality of what I was eating than it does about butterscotch). This stuff was amazing, and potentially addictive. I also bought a growler of their autumn season beer called Pumpkinator, which I've yet to try. I'll update this post when I do. It should be noted that their prices are a bit high but in proportion to the quality of the food. Plan on spending about $30us per person (not counting drinks).

UPDATE: Pumpkinator ale, 20101004@2111 EST5EDT
Good head of foam. Translucent orange color. Delicate scent of pumpkin. Tastes like pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Not overpowering but not tasteless. Chilly and crisp. Good for an autumn evening spent around the fire or watching Mythbusters with your friends.

In short, I think that Mad Fox would make a right fine hangout once in a while, and I look forward to going back there to try more of their fare. Rating: one flaregun - go here if you're in NOVA!