The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
New restaurant where menu includes a side order of ‘wow’
BY CATHY JETT
SANJAY SHARMA went for the “wow factor” in designing his new restaurant.
And if an early peek is any indication, he’s succeeded.
Jay’s Restaurant & Lounge, which has a soft opening Sept. 1 in Greenbrier Shopping Center off State Route 3, is unlike anything currently in Fredericksburg.
The eclectic menu mixes global fusion flair with a bit of molecular gastronomy playfulness. The bar will serve a variety of unique specialty drinks and alcoholic shakes. And the lighting system can synch with the music—whether live or played by a deejay.
“If you’re not dressed to impress, you’re not [going to feel comfortable] coming in,” Sharma said.
The Springfield resident has worked in the corporate restaurant business in the metro Washington area for 25 years, but long wanted to open his own place. He said he looked at locations in Central Park for his first venture, but settled on Greenbrier when the 6,000-square-foot space Mexico Lindo had occupied became vacant.
“This is like a gateway
to Fredericksburg if you’re entering from [Interstate] 95,” he said.
Sharma and his staff have spent the past year renovating the former Mexican restaurant into an elegant space where customers can celebrate special occasions over dinner, meet business clients for tapas and drinks, or simply dance the night away.
“We’re targeting the 25- to-45 age group,” he said. “We’re expecting people to come from as far away as Maryland. Depending on the direction, this can be closer than D.C.”
Jay’s will open at 11 a.m. daily with a lunch menu of classic American dishes that have been given Chef William Epps’ unique spin. Mac and cheese, for example, will be topped with chunks of lobster and drizzled with truffle oil. And the signature Jay’s Gourmet Burger will be made from flat-iron steak sourced from Olde Towne Butcher in downtown Fredericksburg and cooked to order.
Epps, who last worked for McCormick & Schmick’s, also has created a number of tapas that customers can order with drinks during the 3 to 5 p.m. happy hour, and an extensive dinner menu that customers can order from 5 to 8 p.m.
Entrées will include Delmonico steaks, roasted rack of lamb and crab cakes served with lemon aioli. There will also be a number of vegetarian dishes and some gluten-free options.
If diners want something really special, they can reserve the chef’s table. Epps will ask about their preferences, then create dishes just for them. He’ll offer the same service to customers who ask if no reservation has been made for the chef’s table for that night.
The chef has also come up with some unique desserts, such as the Café Chocolate Houdini Cake,
a molecular gastronomy “foam” creation.
“It’s kind of a ‘fake-me-out cake,’” said Epps, who likes to play mad scientist. “It looks like cake. It cuts like cake. But when it’s in your mouth, it melts into coffee and chocolate.”
Jay’s will serve brunch accompanied by live jazz on weekends, and turn into a lounge after 8 p.m. each evening. The lounge section features comfortable club chairs and sofas in intimate seating arrangements, and has its own sound system so it’s not
as loud as the dance floor. There will be one server for every two groups, and a bartender can come over
to discuss special orders.
Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407