Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Mad Fox Brewing Company

Mad Fox's pork belly bites are dressed up in a black saison BBQ sauce. (Photo: News-Press)
Mad Fox’s pork belly bites are dressed up in a black saison BBQ sauce. (Photo: News-Press)

New Mad Fox chef Travis Weiss has done a whole lot of work since taking over the kitchen of the Falls Church brew pub last September. In less than four months, the menu has been overhauled with new dishes, daily specials – like Epic Burger Wednesday and Fried Chicken Monday – are now regular, weekly events and, perhaps most importantly, the kitchen’s new focus is using local ingredients. Specifically, Mad Fox’s most local of ingredients: beer.

“When Mad Fox first opened, the original chef made beer a priority in dishes,” says Weiss. And he should know. While Weiss is the fourth executive chef at the restaurant, this is not his first tour there – he was in the kitchen when it opened in 2010, working under chef Russel Cunningham. So, while the menu may have drifted away from beer-centric fare in recent years, Weiss is set on bringing it back.

Kerry's meatloaf, served with skin-on redskin mashed potatoes, maple-bacon flash-fried Brussels sprouts, tobacco onions and brandy mushroom gravy, is one of Mad Fox's most popular dinner dishes that's also available... (Photo: News-Press)
Kerry’s meatloaf, served with skin-on redskin mashed potatoes, maple-bacon flash-fried Brussels sprouts, tobacco onions and brandy mushroom gravy, is one of Mad Fox’s most popular dinner dishes that’s also available… (Photo: News-Press)

Appetizers, or “Mad Snacks,” include a soft pretzel accompanied by whole-grain ale mustard and a beer-cheese fondue, mussels are served in a dark and mild ale and, the tastiest of the starters: pork belly bites, come to the table by the bowlful and coated in a black saison BBQ sauce. These little chunks of heaven are jam-packed with flavor and so wonderfully fatty, they practically melt in your mouth.

Soup and sandwiches also get hit with the brew as the Reuben features American pale ale-cooked corned beef and the everyday soup is a bowl of imperial porter and onion.

But the most beer-infused meal of them all is the drunken pork chop. The dinner dish features a hand-cut chop soaked in Kolsch for 48 hours, served along with beer-braised apples and cabbage and finished with an Orange Whip IPA glaze.

...in sandwich form served with chipotle ketchup, pepper jack and tobacco onions at lunch. (Photo: News-Press)
…in sandwich form served with chipotle ketchup, pepper jack and tobacco onions at lunch. (Photo: News-Press)

Mad Fox’s new lineup also features more seasonal dishes like the hummus which changes throughout the year. Last month, it featured pumpkins from Pennsylvania and now it’s Virginia Kabocha squash.

Pizza remains a big part of the menu and Weiss has added a trio of new pies to the mix. There’s the fiery Mad Brewer that starts with a Sriracha-garlic base before getting topped with aged mozzarella, roasted pork belly, red onion, parsley, chili flakes and whole ton of jalapeno. Trust us, it’s a face-ignitor. Also new is the buffalo wing-inspired Anchor Bar and the most popular of the new additions, The Carolina (named for Weiss’s wife), with beech, button and portobello mushrooms, black olives, black forest ham, mozzarella, parmesan and fresh basil.

The jalapeno-heavy Mad Brewer pie is a fiery new addition to the Mad Fox's pizza lineup. (Photo: News-Press)
The jalapeno-heavy Mad Brewer pie is a fiery new addition to the Mad Fox’s pizza lineup. (Photo: News-Press)

Along with the new menu, Weiss has also introduced new regular weekly specials. Epic Burger Wednesdays are back and in full effect featuring a overloaded and tricked-out burger each Hump Day. Past creations include a Monte Cristo (deep-fried bun and all), a fried mac-and-cheese-topped burger and the most recent, The Liberty Bell, put a whole Philly steak-and-cheese on the beef. Also gaining popularity is new Fried Chicken Mondays when Weiss does a different take on the comfort food each week (the latest was a Rice Krispie-coating and the week before, cornmeal). Prep begins Friday when Weiss brines the birds, confits them in duck fat on Sunday and then fries them to order on Monday.

Every Wednesday, Mad Fox chef Travis Weiss hooks up a special beef-and-bun creation for Epic Burger Wednesday. This week's was the Liberty Bell topped with shaved ribeye, onions, peppers, mushrooms and housemade "whiz." (Photo: News-Press)
Every Wednesday, Mad Fox chef Travis Weiss hooks up a special beef-and-bun creation for Epic Burger Wednesday. This week’s was the Liberty Bell topped with shaved ribeye, onions, peppers, mushrooms and housemade “whiz.” (Photo: News-Press)

Other weekly specials include a mussel dish, a fish market sandwich at lunch and many more – this week alone featured six off-the-menu items.

While it is a brew pub, Mad Fox caters to the whole family. In addition to children’s options for lunch and dinner, Mad Fox also serves brunch on Sundays complete with its own separate menu for the kids.

Mad Fox Brewing Company | 444 West Broad Street | Falls Church | madfoxbrewing.com