Have you ever had the urge to visit an English-style pub after having margaritas at a Mexican restaurant? Well, there's now a spot in Royal Oak where this anomaly is totally possible. Red Fox Pub is located upstairs from Cantina Diablo's and while the ownership team is the same, the atmospheres could not be any more different.
Red Fox Pub is a true English pub with Royal Oak sensibilities. Granted, I've never been to a pub in England, but I don't know how many pubs have a posh rooftop patio complete with fire pits and comfortable couches. Therefore, Red Fox is an ideal summer hangout, even if you're just throwing back beers – 38 on tap, including a bunch from Michigan and a good amount from overseas.
Of course, beer is the perfect companion to food, and luckily Red Fox has some really great pub food. Start with bangers and mash, the traditional English classic, a sharable portion of real bangers from Ackroyd's Scottish Bakery in Redford on top of mashed potatoes and Yorkshire pudding slathered in brown gravy. This is an in-your-face plate of meat and potatoes. And that Yorkshire pudding? Don't skip it, because its buttery, savory deliciousness is perfect for sopping up gravy.
We've all experienced that moment when a cheesy, piping-hot bowl of French onion soup is put in front of you. Overcome by excitement, you inevitably burn the roof of your mouth and tongue due to overzealousness. Red Fox circumvents this problem with their unique French onion soup bites. House-made croutons are soaked in French onion soup and topped with cheese and caramelized onions. Each bite is skewered for easy popping.
It is quite possible to order appetizers and beer while sitting back and enjoying a soccer game on one of the many TVs. Yes, other sports are on TV, too – but this is an English pub and soccer comes first! There's almost always a futbol game on, which is a fun change of pace from the usual sports. (No offense, Detroit teams!)
If you do go the appetizer route, you'll miss out on some fantastic food on the entrée side of the menu. All fish and chips are not created equal. This will be immediately evident after your first bite of Red Fox's crunchy hand-battered cod. Flaky, moist and full of flavor, this is how fish should taste. Add to that the perfectly crisp chips, the minty mushy peas and cole slaw, and you have a truly satisfying meal that goes smashingly well with a pint of ale.
Like any pub worth its salt, there had better be a good burger on the menu. Red Fox's burger shines. Double-ground meat, which makes the patty fall-apart tender, is topped with caramelized onions, Gruyere cheese, garlic mayo, McClure's pickles, lettuce and tomato. This is a sloppy, wonderfully fun burger to eat – much different from your average bar burger.
Red Fox is definitely unique, which isn't always a good thing. However, the fun atmosphere, excellent beer selection and carefully prepared, tasty food will ensure that Red Fox remains Royal Oak's premiere English pub for many years to come. | RDW