10673 Braddock Road
Fairfax, VA 22032
CUISINE Cajun/Creole, Bar/Pub Grub, Beer Joints
PRICE Under $12
HOURS Open for lunch, dinner and late night dining daily.
NVM AWARDS None
NEARBY METRO None
By Warren Rojas
No one’s arguing that an evening at Fat Tuesday’s is as viscerally gratifying as a lost weekend in the fabled French Quarter. But finding your way home from Fairfax has got to be infinitely easier than explaining to your boss/spouse/AA sponsor that you’re going to miss that important client meeting/school play/step meeting because you just woke up naked somewhere on Bourbon Street.
This mock N’Awlins saloon cuts out the travel worries and brings all the Big Easy touches to you. The walls are strewn with a haphazard array of neon lights, discarded women’s undergarments—autographed brassieres carelessly hang from the ceiling—and mixed sporting memorabilia. Colorful Mardi Gras beads are almost always close at hand. A coin-operated valet in the men’s room dispenses only the bare essentials (condoms and cologne) for their seemingly multigenerational clientele. The nightly crowd appears to be a mix of George Mason University coeds and grizzled locals.
True to form, the Internet jukebox carves out room for everyone from The Band to Soundgarden to the soundtrack from Will Ferrell’s latest Hollywood sports spoof, “Semi-Pro.”
Owners Ron and Karen Butler—he’s the soft-spoken gentleman with the clean pate and graying, cookie-duster mustache; she’s the bespectacled dynamo busy answering phones and charming customers—cook meals, run orders and tackle the same housekeeping tasks as their mostly college-aged charges. Guess the work keeps them young, because the crowd can get quiet rowdy in here.
Static specialty drinks include Fat’s “original” oyster shooter—an eye-opening arrangement of jumbo oysters, vodka, cocktail sauce, Tabasco and beer (giddy’ap!), as well as a host of co-opted Cajun cocktails like the Old Absinthe House’s Irish coffee and Pat O’Brien’s world-famous hurricane (a candy apple-red blast of muddled light and dark rums, assorted fruit juices and ice).
Standard happy hour specials (available 4 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday) include $2 domestics, $3 microbrews, $3 wines (distributor-grade chardonnay, pinot grigio, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and white zinfandel), $2.50 rail drinks, $3 hurricanes and $3 vodka bombs. The bar typically features Bud, Bud Light, Yuengling Lager, Flying Dog, Michelob Ultra, Abita Turbo Dog, Brooklyn Brown Ale, Heavy Seas Loose Cannon, Widmers Hefeweizen, Allagash White, Jack’s Hard Cider, Bourbon Street Brew and the current Sam Adam’s seasonal on draft.
Other floating drink deals include half-price po’boys from 8 p.m. until closing on Monday, their $2 for Tuesdays promotion—patrons purchase a $2 wristband to gain access to $2 beers on everything but Guinness, rail drinks, vodka bombs and select shrimp and clam platters, as well as discounted rates on fried oyster and Creole clam baskets, all from 4 until 9 p.m.—and a rotating “Superdome Sandwich” available any given Thursday.
A basket of battered alligator reveals popcorn shrimp-like nuggets, though the gator is noticeably chewier, paired with a bold sherry dipping sauce. Fried seafood platters are abundant, if not all created equal; clams are good (small and sometimes soggy), oysters better (plump and juicy) while shrimp turn out the best—though they all shoot through the roof after a dash of Swamp Juice (scorching, jalapeno-based hot sauce).
The catfish po’boy is a whale of a meal, sliding a lemony fried filet into an airy French baguette fully dressed with shredded lettuce, tomato and a tangy tartar sauce. The plantation po’boy stuffs lean roast beef, sliced turkey, Swiss cheese and crisp bacon into the same downy-soft roll.
N'Awlins Po'boy - Top Notch(June/July 2006)
By Warren Rojas
Fat Tuesday’s fields an impressive po’boy catalog, including the Bayou Burger (cheeseburger), Louisiana Purchase (grilled chicken), Port Orleans (fried shrimp), Delta Queen (fried oysters), Mud Bug (fried crawfish tails) and French Dip (roast beef and Swiss).
Bread: Huge slabs of baked, crusty French bread serve as the canvas for each po’boy masterpiece
Filling: Fried shrimp are coated in fiery spices and a blanket of melted Monterey Jack, while an order of fried crawfish brings a wave of piquant tails
Toppings: Chopped lettuce and sliced tomatoes come standard, while dressings vary from a garlic-mayonnaise to a Sherry wine blend
Bonus: Po’boys are half price from 6 p.m. till closing on Mondays