Two much anticipated restaurant openings are at hand in the Plaza Vista complex.
Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar is gearing up for a 4 p.m. Monday opening at 4814 Roanoke Parkway. Just a level above Jax, JJ’s restaurant is still under construction for a scheduled November opening.
The first Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar opened in Colorado in 1994. The new 5,200-square-foot Kansas City restaurant will be its first outside its home state.
On Thursday, in the back of the restaurant by the cooler, a group of oyster shuckers were finishing another day of training — from the proper shucking techniques to the best oyster to recommend to customers who swear they don’t like oysters.
“That’s our Kumamoto. They are the smallest and sweetest and most expensive,” said Cade Beerman, a Colorado chef who was leading the session. “By the time you are done you will be trained assassins in oysters.”
In the open kitchen, one worker was whipping up a beurre blanc sauce for a pre-opening party while another deftly chopped parsley. Throughout the dining room several servers were stacking dishes or hunched over thick notebooks, intently studying details on the menu offerings — from the Maine Lobster Roll to the American Kobe Beef Burger to Jax’s own Emersum oyster, a proprietary oyster harvested exclusively for the restaurant from Rappahannock River Oysters in Virginia.
Two aquariums, stretching a total of 20 feet, help separate the dining area from the bar and private event space.
Jax’s main entrance is a 2½-story glass-fronted atrium on the bar side with a custom fish mobile made of blown glass and forged metal hanging overhead.
Jax’s founder, Dave Query, said the variety of activity at the bar — from its raw bar to its steamer pots with seafood chowder, steamed mussels or clams, chicken and crawfish gumbo, and Hot Messy Shrimp — will make it a culinary focal point of the restaurant.
The menu also includes such items as blackened catfish, filet mignon, coriander crusted Ahi tuna, pan seared halibut, and entree salads, and for dessert S’mores Torte and Tres Leche Swiss Roll.
Hours will be 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 4 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday.
A happy hour menu runs from 4 to 6 p.m. daily and includes such drinks as the Cucumber Lemon Press (cucumber infused vodka, lemonade and soda) and strawberry lemonade (house-infused strawberry vodka and lemonade), along with such items as fried calamari, gumbo fries (aged white cheddar and andouille), tuna melts and roasted peanuts.
Big Red F Restaurant Group of Boulder, Colo., is the parent company of Jax. It also has locations in Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins and Glendale in Colorado.
To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC.