As a kid in San Francisco, I often visited dock-side fish houses. Back then—and even now, to some extent—the small, coastal seafood restaurants relied heavily on battered and fried preparations, something I’ve always found peculiar. Why obscure that delicate fresh taste with a mouthful of crunch? I still love the casual comfort of fish houses but more than ever I crave the taste of the sea, which is why the raw oyster sampler platter at Jax Fish House is so satisfying.

Recently, a friend and I revved up our appetites by ordering two each of Jax’ six daily oyster selections—three from the West Coast; three from the East Coast. Regardless of whether it was a sweet, tiny Kumamoto from California, or a coppery Malpeque from Canada, each cool piece of shellfish brought me back to the foggy coast of my youth. (But now, as a grown-up, I’m able to enjoy the perfect accompaniment: a glass of bright, minerally J. Moreau & Fils Chablis.)

Add on: Follow the oysters with a bowl of Jax’ thick and creamy cauliflower soup, and a plate of ahi tuna carpaccio—the accompanying jam-like smoked cashew salsa is something you’ll think about for a week.

1539 17th St., 303-292-5767