I was coming off eating a lot of burgers the few days before my flight to Boulder when Jax Fish House was added by Michelle to my list of places to eat because I had expressed interest in eating more seafood. Seafood! In Colorado! A land surrounded not by water but by the snow-capped Rockies, the Plateau and the Great Plains! I saw four deer on the side of a downtown street!
Soft-shell crabs season had begun–one of my favorite food-eating times in New York City–and specials the last few days have involved them in sandwiches and salads. I had soft-shell crab sandwich the day before my flight, but I still had room for a few more. If I was going to miss the rest of it in the city, I was going to get my fill in Boulder.
I was warned of the wait at Jax–that it would be longer than usual because of the upcoming long weekend–but we decided to try scoring bar seats anyway. The restaurant was definitely crowded for 6pm and the maitre d’ told us the wait would be for half an hour. But not even 10 minutes into our first drinks that we were called to follow her to our table! We were almost unprepared to eat as we were still enjoying our first drinks after my four-hour bumpy flight.
We started off with half a dozen gigantic oysters before their special of, sure enough, soft-shell crab salad with frisée in wasabi aioli. We also split the main of crispy skinned striped bass on top of a beautiful chive spaetzle with roasted carrots and fava beans. Everything on their menu evoked spring vegetables and I fell in love with all the choices of greens. My least favorite dish though was the spearfish sashimi with noodles. I don’t remember the beet-red sauce that accompanied it (could it have been beets?) but the noodles didn’t do anything for me. They took away from the buttery texture of the sashimi. I could have simply eaten the fish unadorned. There wasn’t any room for dessert but we couldn’t resist the key lime tart. I don’t even remember if it was a good key lime tart, only it was what I needed at the time. (I know I use that line every time I order food with my eyes instead of my stomach.)
We sat under the sunroof so we were surprised to notice that the space had gotten dark. We realized that we had been eating for three hours! For two walk-ins, we never felt rushed. Our server left us to catch up with barely any interruptions and our bill for two didn’t break the bank. As a New Yorker, I will never stop feeling amazed at how much less other people have to pay for good food. Boulder’s one of those places: fresh produce, good cooking, affordable prices. I was in Colorado with an already satisfied stomach enjoying the crisp summer night without the humidity and it had only been five hours. I could already tell my weekend was going to turn out really well.
There are two Jax restaurants in Colorado. This Boulder one is at 928 Pearl Street.
Boulder, Colorado Instagram photos on Flickr