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Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar

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When you arrive at Jax Fish House west of the Plaza, you may be slightly confused. Looking like a normal Kansas City restaurant from the exterior, it is anything but that. From the abundance of fresh seafood displayed on ice inside the front door to the beautiful aquariums with vibrant fish dancing around, the sensory experience for your eyes is as enjoyable as the one for your palate.


Jax has the sophistication and menu of a fine dining experience, but is also family friendly, especially for weekend brunch. Tables are draped with white drawing paper and crayons are provided, for adults who like to doodle and kids who like to draw.


Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar originated in Colorado, and the Kansas City location is its first foray out of that state. KC’s locale has been open for 18 months. It can be difficult to find fresh seafood in the landlocked Midwest, but Jax has fresh choices flown in daily. Not only that, but they are concerned about where and how the seafood is sourced. Their motto is “Seafood is delicious…let’s make it last forever.”


At Jax, they partner with Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, The Blue Ocean Institute, Sea to Table and Fish Choice, among others, to share important news in the ever-changing world within our oceans. Jax Fish House is very proud to be one of the few landlocked restaurants in the United States to be certified by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.


Another source of pride for Jax is that they boast one of the few top female chefs in the city. Chef Theresia Ota customizes the Kansas City menu. Born and raised in Hawaii, Theresia loves cooking for people as an expression of creativity, highlighting her personal culinary style, which is seasonally and locally driven.


Whether you’re dining for dinner or brunch, an abundance of choices awaits. Starters on both menus include fried calamari, gumbo and fresh shucked oysters served on ice. The bar is also a highlight at Jax and includes fun choices like an adult strawberry lemonade made with strawberry-infused vodka or a Bloody Mary adorned with a fresh shrimp garnishment at brunch.



Weekend brunch is served both Saturday and Sunday. Right around the corner from the popular Hotel Sorella, Jax is a popular choice for couples enjoying a “staycation” on the Plaza. With its opening at 10:30, you have time to sleep in before enjoying a hearty brunch. Items of note include the Omelet Oscar with fresh crab and colorful arugula served with grits or crispy potatoes. An entire section of the brunch menu is dedicated to “Bennies,” and whether you choose a traditional eggs Benedict with ham or a more adventurous choice like the Lobster Benny, the brioche foundation is a welcome change from the standard English muffin.


I could write an entire story about the grits at Jax. These are truly the best grits I have ever had anywhere. Chef Theresia has perfected the consistency to such a creamy goodness that you may forget you’re eating grits! They are a great accompaniment to the New Orleans-inspired brunch, and many of the items such as Shrimp and Grits are served with collard greens. You can also get them as a side item, which I highly recommend.


I can’t imagine visiting Jax and not enjoying some seafood, but if someone in your party doesn’t want it, they can get traditional brunch offerings such as biscuits and gravy or fried eggs with sausage and bacon. Kids and big kids at heart will also enjoy the Hazelnut Pain Perdu, which is like a French toast with caramelized bananas and mascarpone cheese. Made with thick and airy brioche and fresh maple syrup, it is like dessert.



Even out-of-town guests from the coast will be impressed with the offerings at Jax. A whole section of the dinner menu lists items chilled and served on ice. Peel-and-eat shrimp, snow crab and lobster with drawn butter, oysters and mussels are all offered singularly or together in larger sampler platters. Those not worried about a budget can also try caviar and roe. At the opposite end of the spectrum are items such as the catfish po’boy sandwich. There is something for everyone.


Pastry Chef Kelly Conwell makes her mark on the menu with lovely seasonal sweets and baked goods. Kelly’s Cinnamon Roll on the brunch menu is as large as a small head. Beignets and seasonal preserves are also offered on the weekend. On the dinner menu, it’s her special touches to desserts that make them stand out. Fresh hazelnuts, smoked pecans and house made ice cream with unique flavors are her trademark.


The ambiance at Jax is sophisticated but not pretentious. Booth and table seating is available, and a large bar is a key feature and a great place to enjoy Happy Hour from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. daily and all evening on Mondays. I haven’t been this excited about a new Kansas City restaurant in some time. I can’t wait to go back to Jax; make sure you put it on your list to visit soon. HLM


At Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar, dinner is served daily at 4:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday NOLA Brunch are from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Jax is located at 4814 Roanoke Parkway, Kansas City, Missouri; phone 816-437-7940 or visit for more information.