Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Mad Fox Brewing Company

Mad Fox Brewing Company Executive Chef Andrew Dixon walked a handful of diners through some of his new menu changes at a Meet the Chef reception at the restaurant Monday. It’s been about two months since Dixon was hired to guide the cuisine of Falls Church brew pub. The chef came to Mad Fox from Semiahmoo Resort in Blain, Washington, and brings some of that Pacific Northwest influence to his menu.

Seafood has a strong showing on the new menu, with a Salmon Fillet ($22) kicking off the entree section. The fish is served alongside drizzles of sweet corn puree and piquillo pepper coulis with a helping of fava bean succotash. A Calamari & Shrimp appetizer ($11) joins the menu, and serves cornmeal battered and fried squid and shrimp with a ginger-infused mayonnaise as a dipping sauce. Seafood options formerly among the appetizers, though, like mussels and tuna tartare, are not included on the new menu.

While the appetizer selections have changed, the Bitterballen ($9) and Frickles ($8.50) remain, as Dixon said the two – the former, curried beef croquettes and the latter, battered and fried house-brined pickle slices – had a loyal following with Mad Fox customers. Another addition to the appetizers, in keeping with the fried bar-fare favorites, is the Seriously Crispy Wings ($12). Eight to a serving, the crunchy wings can be coated either in a hot wing sauce or a ginger sauce made with Wee Heavy, a scotch ale that is among Mad Fox’s list of beers brewed in-house. Dixon cited Korean fried chicken as an inspiration for the wings, and says they reflect his playful approach to cooking.

The pizza section has gotten a makeover, and features the addition of the Truffled Mac & Cheese pizza ($17 for an 11-inch pie and $23 for a 16-inch pie). Bacon, truffle oil and macaroni and cheese are combined atop a thin crust, each bringing rich flavors to the mix, with the stringy cheese and soft noodles complementing the crisp pizza crust. The house vegetable pizza remains, but has been reinvented. The Sweet & Spicy Grilled Vegetable pizza ($15 for an 11-inch pie and $21 for a 16-inch pie) boasts a bevy of toppings – pineapple, zucchini, red onion, jalapeno, tomato, basil and Parmesan cheese – that offer sweet and tangy flavors to join a “beer-bq” sauce that, while sweet, offers up serious heat.

Meat-lovers can rejoice in the new ways that the almighty bacon is featured on the menu, from the Meatloaf Mignon entree ($19) of bacon-wrapped meatloaf stuffed with chorizo and cheese, to The Bacon Jam burger ($14). The burger, with its combination of bacon and blue cheese flavors, seems to take the place of the Blackened Blue Burger. The bacon jam strikes the balance more savory than sweet, and a mass of the crumbled-bacon concoction is placed atop a freshly ground burger patty with blue cheese and caramelized onion mayonnaise.

The Bacon Jam burger, as with all Mad Fox burgers, is served on a house-made brioche bun, and a team of bakers gets to work at 4 a.m. to make those buns fresh every day. It disappointed Dixon that these types of special details were not included in the previous menu, and thus the new menu lets diners know more of these stories about how their food is prepared. The restaurant uses local and/or organic produce, its meats and seafood are sustainable and humanely raised, and its kitchen scraps and brewing leftovers are sent to the very local farmers from which the restaurant sources its ingredients, as feed for their animals – and the menu tells the tale.

The changes to the menu are many, but Dixon considers this a transitional menu, and is already making plans for his summer menu. From soliciting opinions from restaurant regulars to walking the local farmers’ market, The Little City where he has found his new post is already giving him ideas.

Mad Fox Brewing Company is located at 444 W. Broad St., Suite I, Falls Church. For more information, call 703-942-6840 or visit Restaurant hours are Monday –Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Thursday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – midnight; and Sunday: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.