Having spent most of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’m a sucker for raw oysters. They’re pretty much one of my essential food groups. I have to admit, I was a bit concerned when I first moved to Denver, because being landlocked in the middle of the country doesn’t exactly scream “fresh seafood.” However, you’d be amazed how much great seafood there is in Denver, with many restaurants flying it in every morning. And one of my personal favorites is Jax Fish House in LoDo (1539 17th Street). Not the least because they have:
$1.50 Oyster Happy Hour
HAPPY HOUR is 4-6pm every day (and all day Monday!), and now there’s a late happy hour too (which they surprisingly don’t mention on their website). It goes for the last hour that they’re open (9-10pm M-Th, 10pm-11pm F-Sat, 8-9pm Sun… I think.
When you eat as many oysters as I do, happy hour oysters are a big deal. I don’t think there’s a deal like this anywhere even close to here.
Two suggestions when it comes to the oysters:
- Ask for the mignonette sauce. It comes with the oysters at a lot of places, but you have to request it here. I’m not sure why.
- If you decide to not order off the happy hour menu, I highly recommend the Kumamotos from the West Coast (my personal favorite in flavor, but they are slightly smaller).
Another must-try on the happy hour menu is the panang curry mussels. It’s one of my favorite preparations of mussels I’ve ever tried, and I usually get these every time I’m here.
If you’re ok ordering off the regular menu, one of my favorite things to get here in the winter is the clam chowder. It’s made to order, uses fresh clams, and has tons of bacon — and everything is better with bacon.
Another one of my winter favorites is the gumbo (it’s almost as good as the étouffée at Sassafras, which is saying a lot). And it even comes in a $4 happy hour version (shown below).
One of my year-round favorites is the peel-and-eat shrimp ($6 on happy hour), which comes with a spicy mayo and what I think is chili powder. Whatever it is, it makes the shrimp much more flavorful than most places’. Just be ready to get a little messy.
And if you’re more of a raw fish fan, there’s always some sort of poke concoction on the menu. Lately it’s been a spicy ahi tuna poke that I absolutely love.
And of course there’s a full seafood bar, so you can always get a chilled seafood platter or market-price crab (I’m a big fan of the snow crab).
The Cucumber Lemon Press ($4 during happy hour) is one of my favorite cocktails I’ve ever had. I could drink these forever. They’re light and refreshing and go with everything. I think the only thing I would rather drink with oysters is a white wine that’s specially made to go with oysters, but the only place I’ve seen do that is Rodney’s Oyster House in Toronto. Of course they have delicious wine here, too, but I recommend trying the Press first.