The Colorado Springs Fish House has a new general manager, chef and menu | Lifestyle

Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar, 11 S. Tejon St., has a new general manager, chef and fall menu. The new fall dishes are spearheaded by Jax’s Culinary Director, Sheila Lucero, who brainstorms the final menu choices with her culinary team.

And the menu is definitely worth it. The night we dined and met Tom Hartmann, the new general manager, and Juan Lopez, the new chef, they highly recommended starting with Kanpachi crudo ($17).

“It’s a raw preparation of the fish, kind of like sashimi,” Hartmann said. “It comes from the waters of Hawaii. When I worked at a sushi restaurant, we loved getting this fish. It is a premium member of the amberjack family that is unctuous and delicious.

Lopez added a description of the dish.

“The diced fish is tossed in a ginger ponzu sauce with pickled onions,” he said. “We make a corn crema from dehydrated corn for sweetness. Then we garnish the dish with puffed rice, nori and diced Asian pear.”

It was a beautiful dish with layers of flavors and textures – just the right, light start to a great meal.

For entrees, Lopez suggested seared New England scallops ($39) and pumpkin risotto ($19).

“The butternut squash is one of my favorite dishes on the fall menu,” he said. “I could eat it every night. We invest the risotto with roasted mushrooms and fried Brussels sprout leaves. Then garnish it with a sour cherry sauce, fried sage and shaved Grana Padano.”

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It’s easy to see why he could eat it every night, it was so tasty and the crunchy elements of the dish were perfect. Our extremely efficient waitress, Sara Eberle, was also a fan of the rice dish.

The scallops were another winner. You can’t go wrong with perfectly cooked scallops any day, but in this case it’s made a whole lot better with chunks of braised pork belly, roasted fennel, Brussels sprouts and diced pear, drizzled with creamy celeriac sauce and drizzled with pine bud syrup.

“The pine nut syrup is made from baby green pine cones,” Lopez said. “They are pressed to release their juice and then we make a syrup from that.”

Save room for dessert. You don’t want to miss the seasonal Pumpkin Spice Swiss Roll ($8). The pastry chef has created an impossibly fluffy-light, herb-flavored chiffon pie roll. Generous slices of the bun are topped with diced apple-fennel compote and candied pepitas. Salted caramel anglaise is served separately.

Opening hours are Sunday through Thursday from 3:30 PM to 9:00 PM and Friday and Saturday from 3:30 PM to 10:00 PM.

Details: 719-357-4554,

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Festive desserts

Here are a few fun options to consider for the festive table or as a gift:

• Mini Yule Logs (Bûche de Noël) at The French Kitchen, 4771 N. Academy Blvd., are single-serve treats in six flavors: Chocolate Crunch, Peppermint, Caramel Hazelnut, Chocolate Hazelnut, Gingerbread, and Passion Fruit. They are $8.99 each or $49.99 for boxes of one of each of the six flavors. They are frozen and can be thawed in the refrigerator in two hours. It is recommended to pre-order. December 17 is the deadline for Christmas. Details: 719-528-6295,

• Cheesecake cupcakes at Death By Cheesecake pop-up store from 11am to 3pm Sundays at 5830 Omaha Blvd. Flavors include vanilla, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, lemon and chocolate ganache swirl. The cost is $4 per cupcake, $10.50 for a three-pack, $18 for a half-dozen, or $29 for a dozen. Whole cheesecakes also available. Sunday: first come, first served. Other days of the week, cheesecakes must be pre-ordered. Details: 719-941-3929,,

Christmas dinner helper

Mici Italian offers homemade take-and-bake lasagna with full baking instructions through January 1. For $125 you get an uncooked tray of lasagna, serving 12 to 20. Twenty-four hour notice required on to a nearby store.

Grow your own food

Larry Stebbins is a master gardener and will be offering his popular Larry’s Garden Classes starting February 18 at the Timberline Landscaping Conference Hall, 8110 Opportunity View, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. There will be a series of three lessons. The cost is $10 per class and is limited to 88 people for each session. A pre-registration invitation will be sent by email in the first week of January. Send an email to [email protected] to get on the invite list.

contact the writer: 636-0271.

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