Breaking the mold of the downtown & Boulder branches, Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar’s 4th location at the edge of Cherry Creek in Glendale (there’s also one in Fort Collins) is sleeker, bigger & brighter than its predecessors.
It also differs in that it’s open for lunch, which is when I was there for a media preview this week. If, like me, you’re a longtime fan of exec chef Sheila Lucero & her crew (Duane Walker oversees the kitchen here), the sheer verve of the seasonal seafood will come as no surprise, but the item I’m dreaming about today comes from the land rather than the sea: the pickled & fried green tomatoes accompanying this Southern-inflected dish of grilled shrimp over a vibrant succotash-like mixture of corn, favas, greens, & smoked ham plus a dash of classic rémoulade.
Provided the batter is crisp & well seasoned, fried green tomatoes are always a treat—but these go to 11 thanks to the hit of acid (& another of creamy sweetness should you swipe the disks through the sauce).
My fellow guests & I were also loudly smitten with the ultra-buttery brioche croutons on the Caesaresque grilled-romaine salad,
Grana padano also infuses the broth in which lobster ravioli are immersed & topped with arugula pesto; if you’ve never sipped cheese essence before, I highly recommend it. It is choice, as Ferris Bueller would say.
Another favorite, this one a surprise: the flourless chocolate cake with orange chantilly (‘in other words, whipped cream,” laughed pastry chef Jennifer Helmore Lewis).
I usually ignore the still-ubiquitous 100-year-old fad that is flourless chocolate cake, but when it’s good—darkly rich, brownie-like, not too sweet—it’s really good, & all the better for the spike of cool citrus.
Also reveled in the tender-crumbed, salty-sweet, sugar-dusted corn fritters with caramel corn & bourbon-toffee sauce.
And though those were the standouts in my book, I didn’t try anything I didn’t genuinely like, from the peppercorn-crusted & perfectly seared ahi tuna with sticky rice
& the moist crème fraîche-roasted salmon over “beet-braised’ kohlrabi
to the lovely old-fashioned banana split
In short, Jax is raring to go over here, & the second-floor bar, Hi*Jax, is soon to follow (on the 4th to be exact). You’d best be ready to live it up.