November 10, 2012
When we stepped off the sidewalk, through the rickety screen door and into the cozy dining room at Oddfella's Cantina, we were embraced by a warm welcome and surrounded by the eclectic country atmosphere that is Floyd.
A corner stage for homespun music dominates the roomful of whimsical tables and chairs while artwork hangs on the wood-paneled walls. The comfortable feeling of the room increased our anticipation of the culinary surprises to come.
Owners Julie Arrington and Kerry Underwood have devoted their establishment to being earth-friendly by supporting local farmers and recycling everything possible. They describe their cuisine as Appalachian-Latino, so don't expect traditional fare.
Sunday brunch can be eggs and bacon, but it can also be honey-lime chicken or perhaps French toast made with homemade bread and real maple syrup. Huevos rancheros or the tofu scrambler — sauteed tofu with spinach — might steer you away from the buttermilk pancakes or the breakfast burrito. Sipping the coffee is a treat in itself.
The bacon, egg and cheese sandwich wasn't a disappointment. The homemade bread made this breakfast cliche a little special. The home fries could have been crispier and better seasoned; however, Sunday brunch with good friends can overcome small shortcomings.
Drinks at Oddfella's Cantina are served in Mason jars, a quaint touch that reminded us of how far off the beaten path we were. The beer selection is small but includes only fine craft brews. It is one of the few places where you can enjoy a true porter-style beer (St. George).
Dinner offers more choices and slightly higher prices.
Appetizers range from $8.50 for the chili relleno to $10 for mussels and clams in tomato broth. The chili relleno is a gorgeous, flash-fried and stuffed poblano pepper that satisfies the lover of spicy foods and fine cheese.
Salads are made with local organic greens; the soup of the day changes with the harvest.
Chimichangas can be prepared with the diner's choice of tofu or all-natural local beef ($12). They are generous in size, and the pico de gallo is wonderfully fresh.
Shrimp and chorizo ($20), served with a slightly sweet vegetable mix and rice, featured a generous amount of chorizo and teased our taste buds with savory heat. The shrimp in the dish were cooked perfectly and nicely complemented the sausage.
A standout choice is the pork loin with sherry peaches ($19). The large cut of pork was nicely seasoned and tender throughout, and the sweetness of the peaches made for a nice pairing. The presentation is an eyeful, and the dish tastes as good as it looks.
Other choices include pan-seared scallops ($21), a Black Angus ribeye ($24) and pecan tofu ($14).
After the main course, you will likely push yourself away from the table feeling satisfied, but don't pass up the hummingbird cake for dessert. This triple-layer cake with cream-cheese frosting is full of nuts, pineapple and bananas, and you won't leave a crumb on the plate. It is the epitome of home baked goodness.
Oddfella's Cantina should earn your support because of their commitment to local farmers and recycling, but they will earn your support because they know how to cook good food.
July 27, 2007
Everything about Oddfellas Cantina is eclectic: the menu, the decor, the artwork, the music. Even all of the tables and booths are different. With its high ceilings, wooden floors and screen doors, the restaurant defies categorizing. Hippie-dippy? Avant-garde? Rustic? Suffice it to say that there's no mistaking it for a chain operation.
Dinner: The dinner menu features a variety of beef, seafood, fish, chicken and vegetarian offerings, often with unusual pairings that are the creation of Chef Natasha Shishkevish. She's given full rein to concoct whatever her heart desires and frequently adds dishes based on what's the freshest and the best that day. The entire menu changes every eight weeks.
We started with Shrimp in Indian Sauce as an appetizer ($7.99) and were pleased with the generous portion of large, plump shrimp cooked to perfection, with a tangy dark sauce for dipping. For entrees, we selected beer-battered tilapia served with couscous ($14.95) and chicken breast in a sauce of red wine, capers and green olives on a bed of rice ($14.95).
The tilapia was exceptional in quantity, flavor and preparation. The batter was as light and crisp as tempura, flaking away to reveal tender white fish. The diverse ingredients in the chicken's sauce melded into an exquisite flavor.
Customers enjoy music
and food at Oddfella's
Cantina on a Wednesday
The dinner salad of field greens and lettuces was anything but boring - although a bit challenging to tackle in a too-small dish. Topped with a tangy lemon tahini dressing, the salad greens belied their organic, locally grown roots, especially the marvelous vine-ripened tomato. (Owner Rob Neukirch said one diner looked at him with moist eyes, gasping, "How do you make it taste like this?" He responded, "Because this morning it was still in the ground and this evening it's on the table.")
Another delight was the wine our server suggested: "Simpatico" by Villa Appalachia, a small winery just down the road. The vidal blanc/malvasia bianca blend was quite pleasant, priced at $4.50 a glass.
To cap the meal, we sampled one of the many homemade desserts - made-from-scratch apple pie. Marvelous.
Lunch: Oddfellas is known for its overstuffed chimichangas, homemade tortilla chips and wraps with colorful names such as "Rude Boy" and "Rainbow."
Brunch: Served only on Sundays, brunch features standards such as French toast, pancakes and omelets, as well as more unusual combinations such as a tofu scrambler with home fries and seasoned beans. Classical guitarist Chris Hale is a hit with the brunch crowd.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Oddfellas Cantina offers a unique, changing menu filled with surprising combinations, from its signature chimichangas to gourmet cuisine. Don't be shy about asking the knowledgeable staff to guide you to a memorable dining experience.
In 2001, actor Rob Neukirch and his publicist wife Michele Morris were living in Los Angeles and not keen on raising their two young sons there. Neukirch's sister had heard that the owners of Oddfellas Cantina wanted to sell and she told the couple, "We should buy it." The idea was still on the table when Morris happened to be visiting in New York City when the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred. When she made it back to L.A. a week later, she told her husband, "Life is short - let's do it." They bought the restaurant and took over in January 2002.
The restaurant building was constructed in 1910 as a meeting hall and over the years has housed the popular Moses Restaurant, an art gallery and an exercise salon. The building next door was once owned by the Oddfellows Society, a group of do-gooders who helped widows in distress or orphans in need. The group's name, and the restaurant's namesake, comes from the expression, "It's an odd fellow who'll work for free." The society officially began in Great Britain in 1810, but traces its roots back to the exile of the Israelites from Babylon in 587 B.C.
February 22, 2012
I'd highly recommend Oddfella's Cantina for those who want an authentic Floyd experience and great food. The assortment of chairs and artwork on the walls represents the variety of people you'll find in Floyd...from the mountain folk to the alternative crowd. You can usually hear local Floyd musicians here, which makes for a fun atmosphere. There is a lovely garden out back that is open during the warm months. I'd highly recommend Oddfella's Cantina for those who want an authentic Floyd experience and great food. The assortment of chairs and artwork on the walls represents the variety of people you'll find in Floyd...from the mountain folk to the alternative crowd. You can usually hear local Floyd musicians here, which makes for a fun atmosphere. There is a lovely garden out back that is open during the warm months.
Oddfellas' menu is quite varied, the spices often unusual and the preparation is sophisticated. It reminds me of California fare. We have found the wait staff to be quite attentive and friendly. There is a good selection of wine (though I wish more local wines were offered) and an even better selection of beers.
There is now a fun Tapas bar upstairs at Oddfellas and many of the local movers and shakers go there.
Oddfella's Cantina & Tapas Bar110 N. Locust Street
Floyd, VA 24091 (540) 745-DINE (3463)
Sunday: 10am - 3pm
Thu-Sat: 4pm - 10pm
Monday, Tuesday: Closed