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With more than 130,000 people working in downtown Denver, lunch is big business for many area restaurants. And one long-standing LoDo eatery has finally caught on: Last month, Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar launched a midday menu. The new lineup, designed by executive chef Sheila Lucero and chef de cuisine Austin Hornsby, features fresh salads, stacked sandwiches, and lots of under-the-sea favorites. “We got tired of seeing our friends pulling on locked doors during the day,” said Lucero in a press release.
While the signature raw bar, crab cakes, and Niman Ranch burger are available too, those looking for a lighter meal should focus on the soups and salads. The crab and butternut squash bisque, made from a shellfish stock base, is creamy and ultra-smooth. The local greens salad combines a tangle of lettuce, fluffy hardboiled eggs, candied pistachios, shredded Grana Padano cheese, and a welcomingly sweet honey vinaigrette.
For something more substantial, Lucero went all out on the new sandwich menu section. Consider the salmon rillette melt akin to a grown-up tuna melt. The fish is given the pastrami treatment—blended with black pepper and spices and smoked—then spread between two buttery, toasted slices of bread with pickled mustard seeds and melty white cheddar cheese. The dish arrives with Jax’s perfectly crisp French fries and a vinegary slaw. Other new additions include the massive crispy fish sandwich, a tuna burger, and a decadent lobster BLT.
While wine, beer, and cocktails are all available at lunch, we suggest perusing the tasty nonalcoholic options. The Nojito (lime simple syrup, muddled mint, and soda water) is citrusy and refreshing, and the house-made ginger beer, made with allspice, ginger, and aromatics, tastes like the holidays.
If you go: Lunch is available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; 1539 17th St., 303-292-5767