Last Saturday, while visiting friends who live in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia, we had the pleasure of dining at Jaxon BYOB. I love a BYOB, but it’s hard to find one that isn’t just average. Jaxson BYOB was recently voted “Best BYOB in Philadelphia’ and it’s easy to see why. The restaurant is SMALL- I would guess it only seats 20-25 inside and about another 20 outside. We had a reservation for outside and the weather cooperated. The “kitchen” is open to the dining room and doesn’t have a tall counter in front of it, so the view of the chef cooking is unobstructed, you can really see where the magic happens. And magic it is. We shared both the appetizers and main courses, so I was able to get a real feel for the talent of the chef. To start we had grilled octopus ( I know, I’m sick of seeing it on a menu, too, but I can’t help myself, I love it ), watermelon salad and the lump crab salad. I wasn’t enthused about the watermelon salad, but it was amazing! I have no idea what they do to that watermelon, but I wish I did. The octopus was olive oil poached and then grilled and served with taramasalta, sliced radishes and micro-greens, and it was yummy. For dinner we had the stone grilled sea bass, the salmon and the coulette steak. The only thing I didn’t try was the salmon. The sea bass was perfect in every way- super crunchy skin and perfectly done flaky fish and the steak , a tougher ad more unusual cut, was cooked just right and very flavorful. The sides- Israeli cous cous, red chimichurri, tomato butter- all amazing. Everything was perfectly balanced, I didn’t even have to ask for salt!!!! For dessert we had both the chocolate mousse and the coconut milk pound cake. The only mistake we made was only ordering one of each!! The owner, Tony is gracious and welcoming, and more than a little charming. Chef Matt made the rounds when things quieted down and was very appreciative of the way too many compliments I heaped on him (BYOB means BYOBS to me!!) . My only critisism (you know I have to have at least one) is that the waiters wear those uber millenial silly outfits- jeans, white shirt and get this- belts and suspenders! You know I had to really dig to find a problem if that problem is about belts and suspenders!!! If you find yourself headed to Philly, get a reservation at Jaxson BYOB- you will be glad you did. You are welcome in advance.