Ford's Fish Shack - South Riding, VA
Hubby took a day off yesterday, & since so many reviewers on "Yelp" commented on how crowded this place is, we figured a Monday afternoon would be a perfect time to give it a try sans crowds. And we were right.
Arrived a little early, so were the first ones through the door at opening time (3:30 p.m.) & were seated immediately. Décor is appropriately New England-seashore themed - lots of buoys, lobster traps, etc., etc. - without being kitschy. Our echoed conversation did make us think that when full/busy, this place probably gets quite loud. My iced tea ($2.75 with free refills) & hubby's water arrived immediately, along with a basket of warm sweet mini corn muffins & softened butter. Very tasty.
Started out by sharing an appetizer of "Fried Calamari" ($9.50). A HUGE mound of tiny meltingly-tender perfectly batter-fried rings served on a bed of Remoulade sauce. The portion could easily serve one person as a meal, & we were glad we opted to share it.
For entrees, since The Washington Post recently had a blurb on how absolutely fabulous the "Fish & Chips" ($15.00) were, that's what hubby ordered, being a big F&C fan. Three large thick hand-cut pieces of Cod, perfectly batter-fried - crispy & greaseless. Served with tartar sauce, ketchup, a mound of addictive shoestring fries & a small bowl of fresh house-made chopped cole slaw tweaked with just a touch of fresh tarragon. (Malt vinegar was already present on every table.)
I of course had to order my hands-down favorite fried seafood dish - "Fried Oysters" ($18.00). Eight large fresh extra-plump batter-fried beauties PERFECTLY cooked - as in "just" cooked through, but not raw. Same addictive fries, cole slaw, & ketchup, but instead of tartar sauce, I was given that delightful Remoulade sauce, but this time assertively spiked with heat.
Both dishes were served in adorable metal weave baskets with ceramic cups set in holders on each end - one for sauce; one for ketchup - & lined with parchment paper printed with seafood stuff. And no chintzy cutlery here. You could easily kill someone just by lobbing a piece - lol!!
Normally we're not dessert folks, but I'm a whore for Crème Brulee ($7), so was eyeing that. Since the portions here are more than ample, & I was already quite full, we decided to split one. It was SO good, that next time there is NO way I'm sharing - lol! Light luscious custard with just a hint of Grand Marnier, topped with a perfect crackly sugar crust & a few large fresh red raspberries.
Service was uber friendly & attentive without being cloying. Only very slight con was that it was a "little" too quick, as in we were still enjoying our appetizer when our meals were delivered, & were asked a few times if we wanted dishes removed while we were still eating. Perhaps this is a carry-over from the fact that the place is normally packed to the gills.
Bottom line: $54.86 with tax but before tip & worth every single penny. We'll DEFINITELY be back, & are already wishing it was closer than an hour's drive for us.