February is Oyster Month at Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar

I’ve never thought one could ever have too many oysters, but my beliefs — along with the stomachs of a few other brave eaters — might be challenged in February, when Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar holds its second annual oyster eating competition on Saturday, February 27. 

The competition is part of a full-scale oyster celebration put on by the plaza restaurant, which has declared February to be “Oyster Month.” The oyster eating showdown will be the grande finale to what will be four weeks of rotating food and drink specials from Chef de Cuisine Theresia Ota and head bartender Kenny Cohrs. Additionally, ten cents per every Emersum oyster (the proprietary Jax oyster) shucked during the month of February will be donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

“Out in Colorado [the headquarters for Big Red F Restaurant Group], there’s an event called the High West Oyster Fest, and it takes place every year in the first week of March,” Tim Roy, Jax’s general manager, says. “It’s been going on for a dozen years in Boulder at the original Jax Fish House there, and it’s always a huge success. We did it last year in March here, and that proved to be a conflict [with corporate], so we’ve moved it back. I think it’s going to work well doing it earlier here.”

Roy is already looking forward to the oyster eating contest. “Personally, the level of energy is so intense,” he says. “I have vivid memories of last year’s contest. They say the Kentucky Derby is the most exciting two minutes in sports, well, this is the most exciting two minutes in food I’ve ever seen. We had 250-plus people packed into our dining room. The screaming and the yelling and energy was the kind of thing you see at a play off game at a tremendous sport. Plus, it’s for a cause: Last year, we raised around $5,500 with the whole month. Hopefully, this year we’ll do more.” 

The oyster eating competition will take place on Saturday, February 27 at 2 p.m. Contestants will compete in teams of four, and whichever team slurps the most oysters in two minutes will walk with a grand prize of $1,000 cash.  

If you’re not a competitive eater, fret not: There are plenty other opportunities for you to partake in Oyster Month at Jax. Each week brings a new special; the dishes are listed below for your convenience.

Week 1 (February 1—7) — Duane’s Spicy Fried Oysters (Sriracha hot sauce, sweet and sour fennel, yuzu aioli, toasted sesame seed, puffed rice) $15
Week 2 (February 8—14) — Fried Oyster Biscuit and Gravy (Andouille, white gravy, sunny egg)  $15
Week 3 (February 15—22) — Dietzy’s Banh Mi (rice flour fried oysters, Nam Pla Pickled vegetables, cilantro, sriracha mayo, chicken liver pate) $17
Week 4 (February 23—29) — Tempura Oyster and Ahi Udon (soy marinated mushrooms, ahi noodles, kimchee, miso broth, nori) $19

Be sure to try the featured Oyster Month cocktail, Precautionary Measures, which features Deveron 12-year Scotch, Pimm’s No.1 liqueur and Combier.

If you are interested in testing your oyster limits, the entry fee for the competition is $400 per team, with all proceeds benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The last day to enter is February 20. Space is limited. Call the restaurant at 816-437-7940 and ask for Tim Roy or Margaret Adams to sign up.

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