I can't take responsibility for the entire life span of the fishy food temple, but I can say I've made my mark here for the past third of it. I started at Jax on January 1st, 2004. For the first four years, I cooked my heart out and tried to improve on an already well-oiled machine. I came into a restaurant with a superb reputation and a staff that was untouchable. Not a bad gig for a young chef with a lot of energy but not enough experience to start his own place. Everything changed for me (and perhaps for Jax) a year ago when the first episode of Top Chef Season 5 aired. I went from being a well-know chef on Pearl Street to a TV personality.
If it wasn't for the success of Jax, the generosity of owner Dave Query, and the support of the hard-working staff of this fine restaurant, I don't think I would have ever been on the show. Needless to say, the incredibly busy 60-seat restaurant got even busier. And when I was announced as the winner, well....you can imagine the impact.
This week, Jax Fish House has been offering throwback dishes to mark all of the wonderful years of innovative and fresh seafood served. The last two nights, I offered up remakes of the final three courses of food I made on Top Chef. We had a very full dining room and what seems to have been a lot of smiling faces.
1) Sashimi Trio of Hiramasa, King Salmon, and Ahi Tuna with shaved fennel, avocado, grapefruit, candied grapefruit rind, soy "noodles", fennel pollen, and ginger-citrus vinaigrette
2) Seared Scallop and Foie Gras with cardamom pain perdu, star anise preserved apples, crushed spiced pecans, apple gastrique, foie gras foam, and raw apple salad
3) Porcini Crusted Venison Loin with chestnut-celeriac puree, wild mushrooms, haricot vert, micro celery, and blackberry demi glace
I love this restaurant and I love everyone who has made an impact on it. From the dishwashers to the hostesses to the managers to the regular customers - Jax is a family with many members. We all have made our mark in some way. Some have made food, some have served cocktails, and some have caught a fish and put their picture on the wall. I am just so proud to have been a part of such a magnificent place for the past six years and I can't wait to see what the next 15 years of Jax brings!