A few years back, I was always hearing about the burgers at Jason’s Burgers in Hot Springs. Before I could try them, the place changed hands, and the food started to disappoint the regulars who frequented the place. Now the family of the original owner have it again, along with some of their old staff, and things are back to normal at Jason’s…or so I thought. Was I in for a great surprise!
On the way to Jason’s, the only thing on my mind was a big juicy burger. Pulling in to park I noticed a big blackboard on the building that listed the day’s specials. The very last line read “Sea Bass!” Really, from a burger place?
Walking in, there was the sense of being in a sports bar or bar and grill type atmosphere. No way this place has good seafood right? Looking over the menu there was all these fried appetizers, burgers, fried catfish, and normally what one would expect. So my server, Tara (who did an awesome job), brings my drink and informed me of the Sea Bass entree. That was my choice. Turned out to be a great one.
My meal arrived within 30 minutes. Pan seared sea bass, sitting on top of sauteed vegetables ( mushrooms, onions, spinach, and tomatoes), and the two sides of asparagus and mashed potatoes. The mushroom gravy for the potatoes came in a separate bowl, which meant using as little or as much as needed. The scent from the meal caught the attention of all the surrounding patrons, most of whom wanted to return their food, and reorder.
The vegetables were sauteed to perfection. Buttery, flavorful, and tender. The real mashed potatoes were creamy, and needed very little of the homemade mushroom gravy. The star of the dish, the sea bass, was pan seared and finished in the oven. Fish is so easy to overcook, but this was perfect, really putting chef Doug Pettus’ skills on display. The fish was seared to almost a crispy exterior that gave way to a flaky, moist interior. The term of “melts in the mouth” comes to mind. Delicate flavors from the fish, combined with the sauteed vegetables, made me forget my surroundings. The knife that was given was just a spectator, because the fork is all that was needed. Thinking the meal was complete, and it was time to reminisce on the great meal and relax before the drive home, my server mentioned that they had Cream Cheese Pecan Pie. Yes, I had a slice of cream cheese pie topped with pecans and coconut, and drizzled with caramel. It was a great night!