2012-02-15 / Restaurant of the Week


The brand new, sparkling clean Jax Inn Diner offers a treat for all, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The Jax Inn is located on the former site of the old Mark Twain diner and opened just three months ago after extensive renovations. The décor is cool retro with a decidedly modern twist. Neutral colored booths and wood touches are illuminated by sleek glass light fixtures and multicolored chiclet tiles at the entrance. If the décor isn’t enough to impress you, then check out the display case full of freshly baked cakes, all made on the premises.

To call the Jax Inn a “diner” really doesn’t do it justice. With an impressive cocktail list, imported beer, wine and sangria, and a menu that includes upscale dishes as well as traditional comfort food, my companion aptly called this a “gastro-diner”. Owner Peter Giannapoulos brings his experience from his Manhattan diner to Jackson Heights while manager Jim Stavrianakis greets all the guests and ensures a pleasant meal.

We started with a beautiful platter of feta cheese, stuffed grape leaves, tomatoes, olives and warm triangles of pita bread. The house made green olive tapenade and hummus are perfect for spreading onto the bread while you peruse the extensive menu. From the appetizer menu, we chose the oversized, stuffed mushrooms which were filled with sweet crabmeat and bread stuffing, drizzled with scampi sauce ($7.25). Grilled calamari and octopus are both tender and tasty from the charcoal grill, dressed with basil infused olive oil and lemon. The fried calamari rings and mozzarella sticks are popular for their crispy crunch, while the potato skins are made from scratch and stuffed with cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon and scallions ($6.45). The chicken quesadilla could be shared as a first course or eaten as a light meal since it is chock full of grilled chicken, shredded mozzarella, and mushrooms, topped with fresh salsa ($7.95). There are appetizer-sized salads, such as one with roasted beets and goat cheese, or “Big Salads” that include the classic Chef’s salad, Greek salad or Asian chicken salad with soba noodles, mandarin orange slices and crisp wontons ($12.95).

Moving on to entrées, there are classic plates, fish specials and prime meats, as well as sautéed specialties and pasta. How does “Mom’s meatloaf” and “Southern fried chicken” sound to you? Well, I can say first hand that the Jax Inn puts the ‘comfort’ in comfort food. The mammoth sized portions are only outdone by the fresh ingredients and home style preparation. Everything is beautifully presented on gleaming white plates with fresh watercress garnish, a very nice touch! My skirt steak was perfectly cooked and served with a chimmichurri parsley sauce that was delicious. Fresh turkey breast is carved to order and served with all the trimmings ($13.95). Grilled pork chops are served two to an order with lemon, thyme and black pepper while the lamb chops are prepared Greek style with extra virgin olive oil and lemon.

The Jax Inn purchases fresh fish daily, so dig into a stuffed fillet of flaky sole, filled with sweet crabmeat and bread crumbs, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, lemon and white wine or plump, juicy shrimp stuffed with the same savory filling, topped with garlic butter. One of their most popular fish items is the grilled Atlantic salmon with basil parmesan butter served over julienne vegetables ($16.95).

Even if you visit every night, the Jax Inn has nightly dinner specials to wow you. Beef goulash over buttered noodles, roast pork loin with potatoes and vegetables and farfalle pasta with chunks of chicken and sun-dried tomatoes are just some samples of the chef’s specialties.

Few can resist a juicy burger and the Jax Inn makes some of the best around. Top them as you like with cheese, bacon, roasted peppers and mozzarella or straight up for a filling lunch, dinner or anytime. There are even Mediterranean lamb kofta burgers and turkey burgers.

Freshly prepared wraps and Panini also make a great lunch, to stay or to go. The California wrap is rolled up with grilled chicken breast, crisp Romaine lettuce, sautéed mushrooms, tomatoes, guacamole and aioli mayo. The Ahi tuna wrap is one of my favorites, made with seared rare tuna, avocado, red onion and greens with a delicate lemon dill sauce. The roasted vegetable Panini tucks zucchini, roasted red peppers, Portobello mushroom and fresh mozzarella into fresh ciabatta bread with pesto sauce. Best of all, all wraps and Panini are served with your choice of French fries, potato salad or mixed greens, to stay or to go. Don’t forget classic sandwiches such as the BLT, turkey club and rare roast beef sandwich. Stop in for breakfast on your way to work, or for a relaxing weekend brunch where the pancake and waffle mix is made from scratch to produce the lightest fluffiest pancakes and waffles around. Top them with fresh fruit and order some Canadian bacon or sausage to accompany your breakfast. Eggs and omelets of your choice abound and the home fries are always fresh and golden. French toast topped with fresh berries and a selection of freshly baked muffins, rolls and pastries round out breakfast. Wash it all down with their fresh brewed coffee.

Make the Jax Inn Diner your new favorite spot for breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch or anytime snack. It’s conveniently located on Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights and there’s a parking lot to boot! The décor, food and atmosphere are all fresh and modern, so visit soon.

72-12 Northern Blvd., Jackson Heights


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