On Saturday, Suzy and I joined my mom and sister at my favorite fish house in the Denver area – Jax. We have loved this place for quite some time, but hadn’t been to the Denver location (there is another one in Boulder whose head chef won the Top Chef honor on the reality show).
A few things have changed since we last dined here; the calamari is now the typical ring shape rather than the atypical filet, they seemed to have crammed in a few more tables, and they did not seem as busy.
These are not necessarily bad changes.
The calamari is still my favorite in town, and is to die for. It is perfectly fried with a crispy, but light, coating. It is tender, not chewy like most chain restaurants. And it has the best sweet chili sauce possible for the squid – not overpowering, but definitely present.
The extra tables probably are needed during busy times.
And the fact that it wasn’t busy when we were there is not that strange since it was just the day after Christmas.
On to the food…
I have already described the calamari, but we also had raw oysters to start. This place is known for its oysters, and these did not disappoint. They tasted as though we picked them up straight from the ocean (which would have been difficult since 1/2 of them came from the west coast, and the other 1/2 came from the east coast). We took the advice of our waiter on these, as I know very little about these things except that they taste great!
For dinner I had the grilled steelhead steak with lentils and a huckleberry chutney, my wife had the blackened catfish with pickled shrimp-cornbread pudding, and my sister and mom both got the pan seared sea scallops with goat cheese celeriac puree. Unfortunately my steelhead steak, which tasted just like a mild salmon, was filled with pin bones and rib bones (check out the picture). This is one of my pet peeves regarding fish. TAKE OUT THE BONES!!! The meat on the fish itself was perfectly medium well cooked, and melted in my mouth (when I didn’t have to pick out a pin bone). The lentils were meh, but I ordered this entree for the fish, not the lentils (not a huge fan of ’em). Suzy loved the blackened catfish. The scallops were also perfectly cooked, and tasted fantastic (my sister was gracious enough to give me a bite). They were not chewy, but had enough texture to make them pleasant to my mouth.
After all that food we didn’t have any room for desert, so we just asked for the check. This is when I became impressed with the service. I didn’t think our waiter had noticed the bones, even after we said something as the table was being bussed; however, when he came back with the bill, he told me he took 50% off my dinner since there were so many bones. Very classy!