Mixx reminds me of Ketchup, a restaurant on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles that caters to diners who want to be able to eat an eclectic range of favorite foods in a hip setting, with inexpensive prices. Chef Toni Acireale and his wife, Shari, opened Mixx because the family had hit a wall with Giovanni’s, the Italian restaurant that had been a Jacksonville Beach fixture for 38 years, and the one Toni had worked in since he was a kid.
The new menu is a blend of sushi, wood-fired pizzas, and, of course, Italian favorites, with everything priced at fifteen dollars and under. “We just looked at all of our favorite foods we like to eat, and put those on the menu,” says Toni, who chatted with me as he put together rolls at the new sushi bar, right next to the wood-fired oven in front of the original kitchen. “I just jotted down what I thought sounded good.”
A large glass window overlooks Beach Boulevard, with the open floor plan and cavernous, tin-stamped ceiling still in place. The unusual food combinations include the tempura-fried pulled pork sushi roll or pizza with shrimp and pistachio nuts. The pasta choices are simpler, such as the pasta stuffed with ground chicken and veal or spaghetti little neck clams in olive oil.
True to the name, I went with a mixed crowd. The six of us, ranging in age from seventeen to fifty, ordered a little bit of everything, and had fun passing food back and forth across the tables to share. The two teenagers were excited because the open layout of the place let them catch glimpses of the football game playing on the large screen television, and a sales representative liked that she could comfortably grab a drink alone at the bar after work.
The eclectic menu means the waitress has to bring out chopsticks and wasabi for the sushi and Italian bread with olive oil for the pasta. The bacon-fried oysters served on a bed of jalapeno slaw was everyone’s favorite appetizer. The Cajun shrimp, lump crab and avocado sushi roll was ample, and the fresh ginger slices were a nice plus, but the spice was lost in the rice. The wild mushrooms and quail egg pizza was the group favorite, with the quail egg adding flair to the pizza and the mushrooms providing the actual flavor. The favorite Italian dish was one of the appetizers, the grilled house-made sausage with gorgonzola.
We ordered the pumpkin ice cream with white chocolate pound cake for dessert, which did not work as a combo, because the pumpkin flavor was too overwhelming. The chocolate budino with candied pecans and grey sea salt did work, wrapping up a fun night filled with a mix of flavors.
1161 Beach Blvd.
Jax Beach; (904) 249-7787