As you stroll up Main Street you might not see it: a small sign in the shape of a fox’s head hanging surreptitiously – the way a fox sign should – in front of two inconspicuous glass doors. Open these doors and you are led down a flight of stairs where another fox head, this time bigger and backlit, greets you as you make way down. Right before you enter the Fox’s Den you can glimpse a view into the kitchen through another glass pane that sits at the bottom of the stairs.
This descent into a cozy lair of American beer and spirits along with refined comfort food has become a familiar trek for myself since they opened almost two years ago and I am always eager to see what the Fox has in store. On this particular visit, though, Executive Chef Josh Brown had something special in store for me; a chorizo Scotch egg set to go on the menu this weekend.
Aside from the delightfully greasy proffers of the Maryland Renaissance Festival there is not much opportunity to enjoy a Scotch egg, let alone one that is handmade with a house recipe. Due to the labor intensive nature of their chorizo Josh brought their proprietary blend to Capital Meats where they make it in bulk exclusively for the Den. “I thought our chorizo would be a good twist on [the Scotch egg] since it’s usually a breakfast sausage” he explained.
The remaining process is relatively simple. Josh began by soft boiling an egg for seven minutes, until the yolk of the egg was barely cooked. He then formed a layer of chorizo around the egg by hand. The whole project then got a flour and egg wash bath followed by a Panko crusting. At last, the egg was fried to perfection for about eight minutes. The final result looked almost like a tiny brown avocado, and similar to that stone fruit I knew what treasures were contained within.
All that was left were the finishing touches. An artful swipe of in-house made avocado crema on a plate, the cutting of the egg in half, and a topping of pickled Fresno chilies and cilantro leaves. I practically drooled as the egg sat enticingly amidst pops of yellow, green, and red. As I took in my first bite I could taste the complexity of the chorizo recipe resonating in every bite.
On most occasions the egg usually steals the show, at least for a runny egg yolk worshiper like myself. However, this chorizo was uniquely spectacular, with hints of herbiness, vinegar, and a slight touch of heat. The avocado crema provided the perfect mellow compliment and fresh cilantro and pickled Fresno peppers brightened each forkful. Paired with the Diamond Brewing Green Machine IPA, the hops and carbonation from which helps cut down on spice of the chorizo, and you’ve got a little slice of heaven.
Speaking of slices of heaven, you should not leave the den without trying their pizzas, which are baked using a dough with a yeast strain straight from Ischia, Italy! The authentic Italian strain of yeast used for the Den’s starter dough goes back 200 years and is continuously grown by Executive Sous Chef Chris Wroblweski. This means the flavor profile of their pizza crust is constantly evolving. Ultimately, the Den will have their own strain of yeast!
Great dough deserves a grand oven to bake in and the Den has just that. It’s a high-tech fancy gadgety thing that uses a combination of gas and firewood with a revolving deck. “The deck is controlled by a separate motor that allows us to dictate Rotation speed and temperature if need be” explain part-owner Tommy Burns. The bottom line is, there is no dough or oven like those found at the Den and it’s no wonder pizzas are one of their best-selling items.
Be sure to reserve your spot for the Den’s next beer dinner on April 25, which features a six-course dinner paired with Union Brewery beers. The price of admission is $75 per person, not including tax or tip and a portion the proceeds go to the No Kid Hungry Foundation.
I don’t know what the fox says, but do as the fox does and burrow down into the inviting sanctum of tasty delights found at the Den. Escape the cold and the heat alike with an impeccable beer selection and a seasonally-changing menu that’s sure to leave you supremely satisfied.
Photography and videography courtesy of Christian Smooth