Although you had to pack a lunch for the trip, we used to look forward to the pilgrimage out to Maylene to sup at Fox Valley. There was something intriguing about eating inventive, delicately balanced dishes in simple, unadorned joint next to a Shell station that could just as easily be serving a meat and three. Their crab cakes were some of the best I've had outside the state of Maryland and their wine list has deservedly won several awards.
But the food is no more. After trekking out there (with several long road construction delays), we were surprised to find a menu that was reminiscent of the bad Florida panhandle restaurants of my childhood - where otherwise good fish is adorned with fried everything and slathered in heavy sauces. (Make no mistake, I love fried everything, just not on top of my $25 entree). The menu had expanded to include - in my estimation - way too many entrees for them to be fresh and prepared well, and was now cow heavy - most of which was also dressed with fried everything and covered in heavy sauces. Even the signature crab cakes were not as good as I remembered - not firm at all and overwhelmed by the sauce in which it swam (and almost drowned).
The service was disappointing as well. When you eat next to the Shell station, you don't expect to have your napkin folded when you leave the table, but you do expect friendly attentive service. We got ignored even though our waiter only had two tables. He disappeared regularly and wasn't particularly helpful when he was around. (He took our orders and then stopped to talk to the next table for ten minutes before he put ours in).
On the upside, the wine list is still very good (one of the best dessert wine lists in town), but not worth the hike when the food is so disappointing. We were very sad at the loss of very good food in a unique venue.
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