Music Tops the Menu
Appropriately, the menu cover at Jax shows a saxophone. This is one of the jazziest supper clubs in downtown Glendale, or anywhere in the Southland, for that matter. The walls of the long, narrow room are loaded with musical instruments and Art Deco posters. A Tiffany-style lamp hangs over every booth.
Jeff Williams, who also owns Clancy’s Fish Broiler, Star Cafe, Hamburger Central and Black Cow Cafe, knows how to please a crowd with creative, eclectic menus. Jax, which has been around for more than two decades, is clearly the jewel in his empire’s crown.
A lot of people come for the drinks--say, the Citron Cozmo, a martini glass of Ketel One vodka, Cointreau and lime juice, plus an iced pitcher holding enough for a refill--and the appetizers. One evening, the special appetizer was fresh king salmon cakes. They were like crab cakes, only crispier and with a wonderfully fresh salmon flavor, plus a cool avocado dipping sauce.
Good bets from the regular menu include superb crispy salt and pepper calamari, all rings, served with a spicy Cajun dipping sauce. The sauteed Barcelona-style shrimp is served en casserole, sandwiched between mozzarella cheese and prosciutto.
But grooving to the live band with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres is the pinnacle of an evening here. The entrees don’t live up to their billing. Hawaiian ono, a special, was advertised as olive oil-rubbed and finished with fresh pineapple. It was a dry piece of fish topped with canned pineapple rings.
Then there were the “rotisserie” meats. The menu calls the pork loin slow-cooked, but it was so tough I had to send it back to the kitchen. In its place I got a perfectly nice piece of baked chicken. No problem, except that it was not rotisserie chicken. Eventually, our waiter sheepishly confessed that the rotisserie was broken.
Baby back pork ribs come with fries, charro beans and slaw. They weren’t bad for ribs that were baked in an oven and finished on a gas broiler. At least the tri-tip roast sirloin delivers. The menu again says the meat is slow-roasted, and here it must have been. It was about as tender a tri-tip as I’ve had in a long time. Go figure.
For less voracious clubbers, there is an extensive menu of pastas and sandwiches. There are also a few good desserts. Two of the best choices are the gooey, delicious Jack Daniel’s bread pudding, served floating in a rich vanilla cream sauce, and the chocolate raspberry layer cake, which is rich enough to make a saxophone start ringing in your ears.
Jax, 339 N. Brand Boulevard, Glendale. Open Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m.; Saturday, 5 p.m.-1 a.m.; Sunday, 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Full bar. Street parking. All major cards. Dinner for two, $28-$49. Suggested dishes: crispy salt and pepper calamari, $7.95; sauteed Barcelona-style shrimp, $11.95; tri-tip roast, $12.95; Jack Daniel’s bread pudding, $4.25. Call (818) 500-1604.