Philadelphia, PA. Northern Liberties - Jaxon BYOB Restaurant opened on March 16, 2016, this new restaurant, located right on the corner at 3rd and Fairmount in Philly's Northern Liberties (where Il Cantuccio used to be), is brought to you by Tony Schiro of The Latest Dish and Fluid Night Club (RIP), and chefs Ed Conwell and Doug Dreisbach (formerly of restaurants such as Vernick Food and Drink, Kanella, Serpico, and Little Fish).
Jaxon BYOB is seeking to serve some of the best seasonal locally sourced products, and we were not let down. Some of the food products come from local farms such as Plowshare, Overbrook, and Green Meadow, and various urban gardens.
We came here on a Wednesday and called ahead to make reservations earlier that morning. They were easily made, and might not be *necessary* for a week night, however the restaurant did fill up while we were there, so they definitely didn’t hurt. Reservations are probably necessary (*read* definitely necessary) for the weekend. (Oh and take note- we definitely felt the vibe of this restaurant was a little bit nicer and classier than your average Northern Liberties spot, although there were some people in sweatshirts and baseball caps).
The interior of the restaurant is super cozy and automatically felt like home (if your home was a small restaurant). There’s an open kitchen, and it’s the perfect environment for going out on a date, or for going out for a nicer dinner with some friends. They’re going for a clean and simple vibe. There are no frills, no hidden secret menu items. It’s our new favorite spot.
The menu is written entirely on a chalkboard in the back, and will change seasonally. After glancing it over, we decided to start with the Caesar salad, Grilled Octopus, and Mac N’ Cheese made famous by Tony’s last restaurant The Latest Dish. Loyal customers loved it so much that he had to add it to the menu.
Unfortunately, the Mac actually wasn’t our favorite (although that didn’t stop us from eating the whole thing), but luckily the menu offers so many more small plate options. The Grilled Octopus and Grilled Caesar were neck and neck for favorites. The octopus was tender and cooked perfectly.
We really loved the Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad – one complaint was that the dressing was super heavy and creamy (we actually differ on this complaint – one of us liked it for that very reason). We thought it was super flavorful, super delicious, and while Arielle did pick off the anchovies (yes yes, she knows they’re already in the dressing), she didn’t want to share her salad. So note to you- if you aren’t a fan of super heavy dressing, pass this up. If you do like it however, get get get! (And don’t worry, there are other salads on the menu for those who aren’t Caesar fans).
The Organic Chicken and Sausage is surely worth trying while it’s still on the menu. The Chicken has great flavor and the sausage is homemade with chicken, scallions, and garlic. The mushrooms and asparagus were a perfect accompaniment of vegetables.
The Skate Wing Kabayaki was totally a shocking delight. We don’t have skate often and the grapefruit was the right amount of sweetness to balance the saltiness of the gai-lan. If you’re looking for a unique plate we would highly recommend this dish.
The Homemade Fettuccine had spring peas, black pepper, and Parmesan. We thought it was a wonderful Spring dish. You could really taste how fresh the pasta was, it wasn’t in a heavy sauce, and the peas added a delicious flavor to the dish. Nothing was left on the plate when we were done.
The Hanger Steak-Frites came with young greens, scallion, and a horseradish & basil emulsion. The steak was cooked perfectly, and while we’re not the biggest fan of horseradish, we enjoyed the dip very much, as it leaned more towards basil than horseradish. We even dipped some of his fries in the sauce, we liked it that much!
For dessert, we tried a new dessert just added to the menu – a Macha Green Tea Tres Leches cake as well as a Galette. Both were delicious – not too sweet at all. The Macha Tres Leches may be one of the best desserts in the city!
All in all, Jaxon is a wonderful little joint. The wait service was also immaculate – our wine glass or water cup were never empty, our waiter was friendly to talk to, and everything just flowed perfectly. It’s sometimes hard to find wait staff this attentive in Philadelphia, and that reason alone is enough to come back here over and over again (and the delicious food certainly helps).
Note: They DO accept credit cards, but of course, as with most places, they prefer cash. Outdoor seating is expected to come soon, as well as brunch (we can’t wait!) Unfortunately, there are no delivery options for Jaxon just yet, but we hope to see it in the near future. They are also closed on Tuesdays.