Directly across the courtyard from the new Fairfax Corner Cinema De Lux, just a short walk across the children's fountains lies a bright yellow building — Fairfax Corner’s newest restaurant, Coastal Flats.
The 240-capacity restaurant is operated by Great American Restaurants, the same people who run Mike’s American Grill and Sweetwater Tavern.
The upscale menu is primarily seafood-based with a few alternaties such as chicken and filet mignon. There's also items that span the East Coast, such as the Low Country Baby Back Ribs, which are made with a South Carolina-based mustard and vinegar sauce, or Grouper Fingers, which are fried in the Coastal Flats lager beer.
"We created a brand over the last 30 years. The brand is a promise with our guests that we will deliver great food with great service," said Tom Rush, co-managing owner. "We will do anything we can to hold up that brand and hold our promise."
LORRAINE VALVO, a benefits administrator from Centreville, spoke highly of her recent dining experience at Coastal Flats.
"It was very good. They catered to me because I was a vegetarian, so they gave it to me without the meat," said Valvo, who also commented on the service. "They were very responsive, different people would ask if you wanted drinks."
Ro Sharpe, an elementary school teacher from Fairfax Station, also complimented Coastal Flats on its service.
"The service was excellent, they were all very courteous and observant. The grouper was also reasonably priced," Sharpe said.
The ambiance has yellow, green, and orange shaded lights hanging from the ceiling, along with a pair of kissing fish, measuring 10-feet long, a mermaid, and more than 200 fish that float over the heads of the customers.
Coastal Flats offers seafood ranging from the grouper fingers for $13, to the crab cake and filet mignon, which offers a "not-so-big baked crab cake" and redskin mashed potatoes, along with an eight-ounce filet mignon for $29.
For guests who don’t feel like seafood, Coastal Flats offers some chicken, beef, and ribs choices. A key lime roast half chicken, with couscous and almonds goes for $13. The low-country baby back ribs are served with fries and cole slaw for $19. The hickory smoked and grilled black angus rib-eye steak is served with redskin mashed potatoes and a choice of mixed field greens or chopped house salad for $23.
Sandwiches range from the cheddar cheeseburger for $9 to the coastal shrimp roll with fries for $12. Also offered is a children's menu ranging from a cheeseburger for $4 to a tenderloin steak with mashed potatoes for $9.
Desserts include key lime pie for $5 and a chocolate covered toffee butterscotch pecan brownie for $6. Cocktails such as the Flats Caipirinha, includes Pitu Cachaca and fresh lime for $6.75 and the Sweetwater Perfect Margarita for $8.75.
Coastal Flats offers starters ranging from the lobster bisque for $4, to the crispy sweet and spicy calamari for $8. A wide range of salads are offered, from a mixed field greens salad with grape tomatoes, sun dried cranberries and garlic croutons for $5, to a sesame crusted grilled tuna salad with thin beans, kalamatta olives, grape tomatoes, balsamic onions, and new potatoes for $16.
"WE ALSO have a very unique cauliflower mashed potatoes," said Rush, referring to a side item that comes with certain meals, or can be ordered for $2 separately.
Almost all of the current staff was transferred from established Great American Restaurants, such as hostess Lori Hanson, who originally worked at the Sweetwater Tavern in Sterling.
"It’s fun working here. This is my second family," said Hanson.
The restaurant offers a bar and an outdoor patio as an alternative to its regular seating, which is made up exclusively of booths.
Coastal Flats is located in Fairfax Corner at 11901 Grand Commons Avenue, Fairfax. The hours are Sunday and Monday 11-10 p.m.; Tuesday to Thursday 11-11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11-midnight. Call 571-522-6300.