English Parliamentarian and writer Samuel Pepys described the pub as “the heart of England and the church as its soul.” As England has become a more sectarian nation, the pub has essentially supplanted the church as the focal point of the community. Today there are nearly 58,000 pubs in the United Kingdom with almost every village and city in England having at least one. Unlike American bars, saloons, taverns and inns which tend to have very pedestrian and forgettable names, English pubs tend to be unique and memorable. The reason, according to one urban myth, is so pub patrons can know where to direct the taxi cab after throwing down too many a pint.
Whatever the reason, no sojourn across the English countryside would be complete without the entertaining travel game of finding the most unique pub name. More often than not you’ll espy pubs named after common objects (such as “The Plough”) and animals (The Swan being very popular), but every once in a while you’ll see a pub whose name defies explanation. Not even in English legend and fable have such creatures as the Red Stag, Green Dragon or Flying Hippopotamus existed, so you have to surmise that they were named for the figments of an inebriated state. Among the most unique pub names documented are The Bucket of Blood, The Cock and Bottle and The Leg of Mutton and Cauliflower. Among the most common pub names in England is the Fox and Hound. When we lived in England, we came across seemingly dozens of pubs by that rather unimaginative name.
None, as far as we know, are affiliated with the inauthentic and overstated American corporate concept version of a British pub. Managed by the Fox and Hound Restaurant Group, there are currently more than 50 Fox and Hound restaurants across America. The corporate cabal obviously goes for a masculine ambience that features dark wood accents, subdued lighting, polished brass, hunter green and burgundy walls along with embroidered chairs and booths. The restaurant is divided into three large rooms, the central focal point being the bar. Two side rooms are partitioned from the bar by etched glass. The side rooms are where you will find the billiard tables.
Televisions are strategically positioned throughout the restaurant, most tuned to ESPN or other sports channels. You might not, however, be able to hear the game of the week over the noisy din of the music being piped in through the sound system or from the patrons as they root, root, root for the old ball game. Bona fide Anglophiles, we’ve never felt “magically transported” to jolly old England during any of our visits to the Fox and Hound, but it does give us an opportunity to recount our many wonderful pub experiences at our former home. That includes comparing our favorite “pub grub” with the menu offerings at this Americanized pub.
Blistered onion salsa and chips is something we never had at any pub in England. The salsa isn’t especially piquant and has a slightly sweet and smoky taste that (forgive the blasphemy) reminds me (vaguely) of the salsa served at the Coyote Cafe’s Rooftop Cantina. The “rainbow” (yellow and red) chips served with the salsa are light and crispy, but substantial enough to scoop out generous amounts of salsa. I’m surprised at how much I actually like the salsa. It’s better than what you might find in half the New Mexican restaurants in town.For a pittance you can also order a ramekin of con queso. It’s actually flecked by piquant bits of jalapeno and isn’t runny and creamy like inferior con queso tends to be. Finish it quickly or it will coagulate once it cools off a bit.
Another Fox and Hound offering that has surprisingly captured my fancy are the baby back ribs which are available in either the “real hungry” (full rack) or “hungry” (half rack) portion size. The baby back ribs are seasoned with 12 spices and slow cooked over hickory long enough for the meat to fall off the bones. The meat is tangy, tender and delicious–as good, dare I admit, as the ribs at many a barbecue restaurant in town. The sauce is practically lacquered onto the ribs, but it’s a nice blend of sweet and savory. Sides of baked beans and coleslaw are also barbecue restaurant worthy.
If you’re in the mood for something less messy, try one of the Fox and Hound’s specialty sandwiches. The Campfire Pot Roast Sliders are an excellent option. The menu describes the three sliders as “slow-cooked boneless beef short ribs served on toasted potato buns with sauteed onions, fried onion straws and a 30-spice barbecue sauce.” The beef is as tender as a mother’s love for her first born while the crispy onion straws serve as a perfect foil and complement. The barbecue sauce is applied lightly enough to serve as a flavor ameliorant and not strong enough to dominate the sandwich.
Most sandwich offerings are served with Texas fries, about which the nicest thing I can say is they should be sent back to the Lone Star state. They’re typical of most Texas fries–bland and boring.
Dessert options include an excellent peanut butter ice cream cake drizzled with powdered sugar and dripping with melted chocolate. It’s easily big enough to share though it may start a tiff at the table as you vie for the pie crust which I believe is embedded with pieces of Reeses peanut butter candy. The cake is served cold, but not so much so that you can’t cut into it with your spoon. It’s a terrific dessert.
The Fox and Hound may not remind us of any of the wonderful pubs we frequented during our years in England, but it serves surprisingly good barbecue for a chain and it’s got that peanut butter ice cream cake that’s to dine for.
Fox and Hound
4301 The Lane @ 25, N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Web Site | Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 4 August 2008
# OF VISITS: 4
BEST BET: Chips & Dip, The Ultimate Cheeseburger, Hungry Slab Baby Back Ribs, Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cake, Pot Roast Sliders
8 thoughts on “Fox and Hound Pub & Grille – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)”
O-U-8-1-2: Aah yes…Baggin’s…a blast from the past when I lived eons ago over that way. Am pretty sure they were one of the first places pushing ‘the string’ as a Funky (good) sandwich place in The Q. Perhaps felt to be a tad pricey at the time, but they look way reasonable nowadays ! Menu @ http://tinyurl.com/3t82dpp While they started in Tucson apparently and have several, I don’t think of them as a chain given their one location here AND years of prospering in the ABQ market. Definitely will make it a must when over that way….10Q! as my G-kids would probably text!!
Yo Bruce: Indeed while UNmulti-grained, plain-ole, white bread has its unique taste, the benefit of toasting greatly reduces stress caused by easily tearing bread while spreading PB and/or Fluff … LOL
“Yum Yums”, to the best of my reckoning, is a multifaceted, idiosyncratic neologism that can refer to whatever you wish that makes you say/think/feel/drool/exclaim “Yum Yum” as in “Yummy”, e.g. a Reuben at the Stage Deli (if it’s still there) in the Forum Shoppes at Caesar’s in Las Vegas, which would approach giving a guy a slight sense of what women experience when they satisfy a yearning/compulsion for a piece of chocolate!! (I believe that S-D is actually an offspring of your NYC’s)
[Speaking of Vegas, I had my first “taste” of your Brooklyn/Bronx/etc. Egg Cream in the “village” of deli fast foods in Vegas’ New York-New York. Alas, I don’t think we had ’em in neighboring MA, where I was addicted to, on the other hand, coffee Frappes. Bless my Mom…she once sent me a half dozen (glass) bottles of Coffee Time Syrup when I was off to college in LA!!!]
My reference to Yum-Yums in my previous note however, was in regard to your reminding me of my “steadies” on whom I’d bestowed my Speidel ID bracelet (with secret pic compartment), during that most Wonderful Age of Ballroom Big Bands sharing the stage with Rock n Roll record hops in gyms reeking of phermones where an apres dance Lobstah(sic) Roll con Fries n Frappe was not only superb but affordable on a kid’s allowance or paper-route wages! What do kids do nowadays when Lobstah Rolls are 18 bucks for one???!!!!! Probably easin pickins for cartels to sucker kids into being street dealers!
Your reference to Marshmallow Fluff brought the inimitable Fluffer Nutter to mind.
The combination of Marshmallow Fluff and Peanut Butter on FRESH FRESH white bread with a cold Chocolate milk made with Fox’s U-Bet syrup was certainly a blast from the past.
Fox’s U-bet is the quintessential Egg Cream chocolate syrup with the East Coast Egg Cream crowd.
It used to come with a cap top plunger attached to the jar.
The new version is available at Albertson’s in the plastic squeeze bottle.
I hate to admit this but what are Yum Yums?
Bob, you should try the Sundown Baggin’s (turkey breast, mayo, herb stuffing, lettuce and cranberries on an 8″ sub roll) at Baggin’s on Lomas. There’s no better turkey n’ stuffing in town. I don’t see a review on Gil’s blog, but hope he will write one soon.
Hola Shalom as well Bruce:
1st I must agree the “The first is always the best.” altho what that brings to mind for each of us may differ as we reach back into the ’50s and ’60s…i.e. my fond memories touched upon dear Yum-Yums other than lunchroom turkey n stuffing….LOL Acutally, I think I was a brown-bagger by then (late elem. and hi school) and my favorite was fried bologna on mayoed Wonder Bread as it built strong bodies eight ways. My second Fav was PB&J, but with…are ya ready for this?…. Marshmallow Fluf on toast con Wise Potato Chips…the one with the Owl! Both sandwiches of course, cut on the diagonal.
Lest you venture to CB for the Thursday Especial and you get smashed potatos as a side, have them put the gravy for the potatoes on the side as well.
Again, for anyone….where’s the best Turkey n Stuffing in The Q other than Txgiving? (And who doesn’t put Red Chili(sic) as gravy on their mashed potatoes at that time as well?)
I’m trying to decide if I meant Cracker Barrel in the best or the worst sense.
Now that I know CracBar serves Turkey ‘n Stuffing I must reconsider.
First I have to compare it to my first, the Turkey and Stuffing lunch served in the late 50’s early 60’s at East Meadow HS.
The first is always the best.
Hola! Bruce says: “Cracker Barrel meets Jolly Olde England ………. England takes a thrashing.”
Whoa: Am I reading at least a sliver of an endorsement for Cracker Barrel if not just for Thursday night’s Turkey n Stuffing Especial?
If not, where in The Q do ya go for Turkey n Stuffing? LOL
A friend and I met at Fox and Hound today for lunch.
My thought: Cracker Barrel meets Jolly Olde England ………. England takes a thrashing.
Too many TVs, something I never thought I’d say.
Pedestrian at best.
The service was decent and friendly.
Albuquerque has so many good non-chain dining spots there is no need to go the chain route with Fox and Hound.
I too have found many, but not all, of the pubs in England to actually be very good. Still, here & in England, they seem to have a reputation for bland, flavorless food, often unjustified. After visiting the Fox and Hound however I found it to fall far below the bland flavorless reputation. Library paste just does not taste good. I will admit that I didn’t try the BBQ but the blackened mahi-mahi & fries. Awful. My wife braved the Phili cheese steak. Awful (according to her). Based upon her motto, “food is food” this is quite a condemnation. She admits though that, as a little Korean girl who struggles with western food, after 15 years of having me drag her to better restaurants her motto may be obsolete for her to recognize something so bad.
I have found several really good pubs in Albuquerque. Horse and Angel on Eubank is great (and, being one of Billy’s places, the eye candy isn’t bad). Also later on weekend evenings the inebriated seem to take over. The Barley Room on Juan Tabo is usually very good. They seem to have a menu but no recipes so quality depends on who the cook is. At the worst it is far above Fox & Hound and at the best it is great. O’Niells Pub on Central is really unique and gets a high score.