Cheap Eats at Sea Jax in Kettering
By Amelia Robinson
Sea Jax Tavern has deliciously stable land legs.
The nautical-themed restaurant and ‘drifting always again in Margeritaville-ish’ pub at 5900 Bigger Road in Kettering is not the sort of place you want to go to on a full stomach.
The laid back ‘neighborhood joint actually owned by the neighbors’ belongs to Ron and Christy Sweeney, the founders and former owners of Sweeney’s Seafood Restaurant. That restuarant is now Sweeney’s Seafood Bar & Grill and owned by Larry and Holley Thompson of Springboro.
Sea Jax's uncomplicated menu is pack with bar nibbles, burgers, sandwiches and house takes on New Orleans and seafood classics.
Great food and you can still afford Netflix after buying it.
In other words, the grub is affordable.
I recently joined a group of friends there for a meal that was far from typical pub food.
Here is a look at some of what on the menu:
Sea Jax has an extensive list of craft beers bottled and on tap, including Ohio and local favorites - Fat Head, Madtree , Great Lakes, Warped Wing, Yellow Springs Brewery and Dayton Beer Company.
The full bar features specialty cocktails like the pictured Bikini Dropper. The blend of Captain Morgan spiced rum, Amaretto, orange juice, pineapple juice with Myers's Dark Rum is a refreshing summer beverage.
Just as the name implies, Boom Boom Shrimp ($10.99) explode in your mouth. These battered and fried crustaceans maintains their crunch despite being covered in a spicy buffalo wing-like sauce.
If you are going to have explosive shrimp, you might as well have oysters ($2.49 each) too. Sea Jax sells them from the Jax steamer bar. We had them the old fashion way - raw on the half shell with horseradish, cocktail sauce, lemon wedges and crackers. You can also order them fried. The bar also several Baked Oyster Rockefeller (4 for $10.99), mussels ($9.99) and peel and eat shrimp (9.99).
Wings are 65 cents each at Sea Jax on Thursday. My dining companions took full advantage of this and recommended wings with the spicy garlic sauces. You can see the garlic on the wings and feel it in your throat. Other sauce options include mild, medium, hot, savage, dry rub and bourbon BBQ.
Big fish in town
This isn’t your typical Fish Taco. Sea Jax’ fish tacos ($12.99) - a patron favorite according to our waiter - is highlighted by giant pieces of crispy ad delicious grouper in soft shell with pico de gallo, shredded cabbage, lime juice and the aforementioned Boom-Boom sauce. Oh and there is also rice and beans. Nummy. The grouper also comes on a black and bleu sandwich for $9.99.
Sea Jax dips its foot in to the Big Easy with Shrimp Creole (shrimp served with white rice and garlic toast) and shrimp, sausage and chicken Jambalaya.
There are no cheese curds, but Sea Jax’s honors Quebec with its version of the very trendy poutine.
Delicious brown gravy, shredded cheese and tender top round beef cover crispy French (Canadian) fries ($12.99).
Burger, burger, burger
The eatery is as much about burgers as it is anything else. You can get a regular “Jax Straight Up Burger,” but there are no less than 10 signature burgers to try. They range from the house made quinoa and cannellini bean-based veggie burger to the Octoberfest burger, sauerkraut, grilled onions, pickles, pepperjack cheese and mustard. The Sticky Fingers burger — bacon jam, peanut butter and jalapeno cheddar has the perfect name. Burgers are $4.99 to $11.99.
Sea Jax Tavern, 5900 Bigger Road, Kettering; 937.439.1664, seajaxtavern.com
Restaurant hours: 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday; 11:30a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Friday and 4:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturday
The bar stays open 30 minutes longer than the restaurant.