Coastal Cuisine, Seafood Supreme
It is no secret that geographical location affects food choices. Being in the Midwest that choice is often comfort foods, brimming with satisfying starches and savory traditions. There’s nothing wrong with these treats, but what if seafood is the mission? Particularly authentic, fresh and superb seafood? This may seem like a culinary fantasy best left for a visit to a breezy coastal eatery. Fortunately, those wonderings are no more! Seafood paramours rejoice as Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar will successfully turn all those seafood dreams into a tantalizing reality bringing the exquisite regional tastes of the coast right to the heart of Kansas City, Missouri.
Armed with an undertaking to get coastal quality seafood to the middle of the country, Jax was founded in 1994 in Boulder, Colorado. This quaint 65-seat dining room promised to provide its patrons with a genuine seafood experience combined with a high-spirited atmosphere. Jax successfully delivered just that by giving customers both authenticity and freshness that seemed to be missing from this genre of dining. Fast-forward and this accomplishment has evolved into a conglomerate of restaurants housed within the Colorado cities of Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins and Glendale. Then in 2014, Jax opened its doors in Kansas City, the first location outside of Colorado. Each restaurant is meticulously planned to take into consideration the customer, the ambiance and the staff.
“Each kitchen has a different chef, and thereby a different focus that is a more perfect fit for their individual communities. The personality of each store is special, and they are run as wholly separate entities. All floor plans, sizes and proportions are different. KC is one of a kind,” owner Adam Reed explains.
It is through thoughtful organization, a keen awareness of customer cravings and an aura that highlights the total experience that Jax has become a sought-after place to dine.
Jax prides itself on its innovative menu and willingness to experiment with tastes in efforts to bring the best culinary experience to its diners. Although some menu items are common in all their restaurants—the calamari, crab cake, gumbo and their distinctive oyster shucking technique—there are other items specifically chosen for the Kansas City location, and their menu is always evolving and chef-driven. Recently the restaurant has begun hosting a Sunday brunch perfect for the more relaxed weekends of this bustling city. This brunch provides a bounty of delectable snow and Dungeness crab along with an abundance of tasty sides.
Outside of a menu that highlights incredible seafood, executed almost seamlessly is their food and drink pairings. Known for its enticing oysters, Jax partners them with a delicious porter or robust stout including brands such as Guinness and Buffalo Sweat from Tallgrass Brewing in Manhattan, Kansas. And if wine is the fancy, they also have personally selected flavors rich in bright flavors and aromas that are a natural match for seafood. For red wine enthusiasts, the Sineann Oregon Pinot Noir is a perfect counterpart to both their seafood and meat dishes. For an even more exclusive experience, Reed suggests their current drink special, “From the Deep,” which features Tequila Ocho, lemon, agave, egg whites and squid ink which gives a delicate mineral quality to the drink and makes it a lovely pairing for fish.
Another quality that sets Jax apart from other seafood restaurants is that it provides environmentally aware sustenance. The featured Emersum oyster is the product of a partnership with the Rappahannock River Oyster Company, a business committed to respecting and maintaining ecologically friendly fisheries. It is this ever-conscious awareness that has earned them the first—and still the only—designation as a restaurant certified as a restaurant partner with Seafood Watch, the industry leader in reporting what is safest to eat from our oceans. It is by design that Jax has created a flawless globally aware dining experience.
The concept of a restaurant serious about providing a high-quality product that captures both the whimsy of the coast and the comfort of the Midwest seems intangible, but Jax has it mastered. Add to this a lively feel that caters to anyone looking for notable tunes, enjoyable beverages and irreplaceable seafood cuisine and all roads lead to 4814 Roanoke Parkway in Kansas City, Missouri, for an intense experience that will leave a permanently pleasant impression.
“Our number one, and really only, concern is that we make lasting, deep memories for our guests through connected service and delicious meals and to throw a great party every night,” Reed says.