Something (deliciously) fishy is happening at Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar

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Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar. // Photos by Jordan Baranowski

You don’t have to cast too wide a net to find tasty seafood in Kansas City; you just have to know where to look. Chef Culley Freese is constantly looking to push new flavors with his menu at Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar, located on the Country Club Plaza, and he focuses his very best on working with fresh, sustainable ingredients. We got the chance to take a seat and talk to Freese about the new items on the Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar menu—here are some of the highlights of what we tasted.

Ahi Tuna Conserva

Freese started things off with some bold flavors here. Ahi tuna, mustard, fennel, roasted olives and heirloom cherry tomatoes, all tied together with a sauce gribiche—basically a cold, emulsified egg sauce. It’s really a perfect appetizer: all the big, tangy ingredients get you ready to dive into the full menu, but the whole dish is really well-balanced. This plate did not last long on the table.

Roasted Heirloom Baby Carrots

I am not normally a huge fan of carrots as a standalone dish, but this is quite a tasty little snack. The sesame, black garlic and corn crema all add different elements to the dish, and it’s easy to build the exact bite you were looking for. Not something I would insist on ordering on a return visit, but I was pleasantly surprised by it.

Butternut Squash Risotto

A solid entry, but nothing mind-blowing. It’s a good change-up if you have someone who won’t or can’t do fish—the maitake/hen-of-the-woods mushrooms were buttery and delicious, and the little dollops of sour cherry and the fried brussels sprouts helped break up the richness of this dish. It’s a nice, tasty risotto, packed with fall flavor; if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll find it with this.

Burnt Honey BBQ Shrimp and Grits

I am an absolute sucker for shrimp and grits, and these are excellent. Chef Freese added three BBQ seafood options to the Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar fall menu, and this married together everything you’ll want from that combo. The shrimp itself has some nice char without being dried out, the BBQ sauce is a great balance of sweet and spicy, the crispy shallots and pancetta add some fat to cut the richness of the cheesy grits, and there’s a lovely kick from the wine-soaked onions. If you want something a bit non-traditional but still impressive, order this guy.

Pacific Northwest Lemon Sole

The best dish of the night, hands down. It takes a deft hand to make a traditional dish like this stand out so much, but there’s a reason it’s a classic. The fish itself is beautifully cooked—it melts in your mouth, but still manages to have some texture and structure. Every other ingredient adds something special: the fried capers and crispy kale lend a texture and flavor variety, whereas the potatoes absorb the rich lemon-brown butter for a really tasty change of pace. But the fish itself is the king here. Just gimme a giant plate of that.

These are just some of the new highlights to the Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar menu. Overall, about a dozen new dishes were added to the menu, finding a place among plenty of already-existing faves. Of course, their oyster game is on point—we were particularly fond of the Hardways—they have a strong but approachable wine list and cocktail menu, and their dessert menu also has some tasty fall options. Keep an eye on the calendar for weekly or one-time specials, too: for example, head in on Monday for an all-day happy hour. Just make sure you order the lemon sole—it’s really damn good.

Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar is located at 4814 Roanoke Pkwy., Kansas City, MO 64112. It is open Sunday through Thursday from 3:30-9 p.m., and Friday & Saturday from 3:30-10 p.m.


Categories: Food & Drink