I have an aversion to chain restaurants. This way of thinking started when I realized there are tons of places to eat that aren’t owned by one giant company. (Duh.) Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time for chain restaurants but there’s more to life than cookie cutter food. With that being said, we’ve made it a point to find the best local restaurants.
Adam and I took our first trip to Whiskey Jax after my dad raved about the food. A bomb dot com happy hour of $3 house wine and $5 appetizers definitely doesn’t hurt either. Since that first visit, we’ve gone back numerous times. So, when the guys at Jacksonville Restaurant Reviews asked us to tag along with them to Whiskey Jax for a blogger dinner, we couldn’t turn them down.
Whiskey Jax is a small gastropub style restaurant at the corner of 295 and Baymeadows Road. The atmosphere is casual and modern. The food ranges from traditional meals like burgers and street tacos (the Poke Taco is my fav!) to more gourmet choices like the white truffle butter ribeye and a citrus kale salad (another fav).
We kicked off our blogger dinner with Bold City Beer Cheese Soup, a creamy beer cheese soup made with locally brewed Bold City beer and garnished with cheese puffs. Yes, cheese puffs. The soup was creamy but still thin enough to feel like soup and not cheese dip.
Up next was Seared Tuna with a cucumber seaweed salad, avocado vinaigrette, and Sriracha chili sauce. It should be known that ahi tuna is one of my most favorite foods ever. I can eat ahi tuna straight off the fish. (I know this because I have done this before.) Good tuna isn’t fishy and this was quality sushi grade fish.
We washed down the first two courses with a signature raspberry margarita which was delicious and refreshing. Adam isn’t even a fan of tequila and he really enjoyed this drink.
Avocado isn’t one of my favorite things. It’s typically mushy and tasteless to me so I was a little apprehensive about trying the Avocado Fries… but they were surprisingly delicious. The cornflake panko is light and crispy while the Thai chili sauce adds just a little kick to the dish. These are really rich though and definitely a dish you’ll want to share between a couple of people.
A steak is a steak is a steak to me which is why I normally stay away from ordering them at restaurants. But the truffle butter atop the Truffled Ribeye makes this dish stand out. If I’m being honest though, I ended up trading my steak for Adam’s risotto. The spinach, sundried tomato, and parmesan risotto was on point and so good. I really could have just eaten a whole bowl of the risotto with a piece of crusty bread and called it a night. In fact, I might have to request that next time I’m there.
Whiskey Jax wouldn’t live up to their name if they didn’t have a line of signature whiskey cocktails. I’m a Jack Daniels girl, which I guess doesn’t count as “real” whiskey to some people so I was excited to try something new in the whiskey genre. But this drink? WAY too strong. I think I took two and a half sips before throwing in the towel. I can’t remember the name of the drink but it was whiskey mixed with red wine and another liquor (I think?) with a bit of citrus zest. Take this back and bring me another raspberry margarita, please!
Last but certainly not least is dessert. We finished off dinner with Apple Cobbler, which is infused with Kentucky Fire Cinnamon Whiskey and topped with a heaping scoop of fried ice cream. YUM! This was a rich but delicious way to end the night.
Annnnnd I’m stuffed.
A true test of a good restaurant is taking a tour of the kitchen. Once we’d had our fill of food and drinks, we were offered a tour of the kitchen and freezer space. Everything is clean and organized. The staff is friendly and informational.
If you like usual gastropub fare with a bit of a twist, check out Whiskey Jax. Through the week they offer food and drink specials as well as local musicians who play into the wee hours of the morning. But if you want my two cents, get there before 7:00pm, take advantage of the happy hour drink specials, and order a margarita flatbread. You can thank me later.