ford’s fish shack

I’m currently in the process of moving out to Sterling, VA, and I was out dropping some boxes off at the new place. It was nearing lunch, and I was itching for some fried food. I remembered that there was a place in neighboring Ashburn called Ford’s Fish Shack that serves as the local fish & chip shop. Actually, it’s more of a full-fledged restaurant that specializes in seafood, but it’s got a nice low-key vibe to it.

ford's fish shack menu

The menu at Ford’s is well-sized and covers everything from small plates to large fried baskets. Notable items that stood out to me were their peeled-shrimp special, Maine chips, and general depth of (assumed) quality items. Being that I was here for the staple item, fish & chips, I ordered that.

ford's fish shack cornbread

Service was friendly and quick, which is always a plus. Granted, it was a Saturday lunchtime during an ominous Hurricane Irene warning. Now, back to the food. I’m always curious as to what
kind of thing a restaurant serves to guests as complimentary appetizers. Of course, the most common things are breads or chips, and Ford’s serves up homemade cornbread. Miniature muffins of savory cornbread (I think jalapeno is mixed in) keep you company while you wait for your order.

ford's fish shack fish & chips

It was only maybe six or seven minutes after the bread came out when my fish & chips arrived at my table. Served up with ketchup and homemade tartar sauce, 4 thick “fingers” of hot, battered cod sat atop thin-cut fries, and a cup of homemade slaw rounded out the dish. At first, I was a bit disappointed at the portion of fish, but after finishing, I believe the chef made the right call. The fish itself was superb – flaky and wrapped in a light batter. The slaw was a great surprise – diced cabbage, celery, parsley, and aioli (maybe a hint of terragon) – because of its crunch and lightness that helped to balance the heavy fried fish. The only thing that was a bit of a letdown was the thin-cut fries. It might be my bias against all thin-cut fries, but I never get enough bite out of eating them and want to dropkick whoever invented them. Chefs, PLEASE stop serving thin-cut fries. They are a waste of plate space. If you want to serve a fried potato product, go with thicker-cut fries that have substance to them. In this case, the thin-cut fries don’t stand up to the crunch that both the fish and slaw bring to the table. My suggestion to the waitress was to serve up thicker fries or chips that actually have a bite to them, because as they stand, the thin-cut fries get lost in the whole thing. I might sound picky, but it’s like the fries are the odd-kid-out in gym class. They just kind of do their own thing in the background.

All in all, I will definitely be visiting Ford’s Fish Shack again to try out the other stuff they can dish out. Friendly service and a menu that excites me is always a good sign.

4 out of 5 stars


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