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Friday, February 7, 2014

Nashville Food Friday: Two Ten Jack

I'm always very excited when a new restaurant opens up in my neighborhood. In the 4+ years I've lived in East Nashville I've seen culinary gems pop out of the woodwork to become local institutions. Two Ten Jack, serving Japanese comfort food, is the most recent food venture in the Walden Complex (Next to Silly Goose and Jeni's Ice Cream) and I'm sure it will become a neighborhood staple in no time, if it hasn't become one already.
The bar at Two Ten Jack Nashville
The interior feels warm and cozy while giving off a modern loft vibe. There's lots of polished concrete and wood. The layout of the restaurant takes great advantage of the space, placing the large bar at the center with different seating options around it (tables for four, booths for 6 and communal tables for whoever). The soft lighting was an excellent touch. I'm pretty happy that I have no snarky comments on decor this week- I was afraid I was getting into a rut.

I have to mention how great the service was. From the second we walked in the hostess was friendly and super helpful. Our waitress was prompt and funny without being overbearing. All our food came out perfectly coursed, in the right order, promptly. For a young restaurant I was very impressed with the lack of service snags.

On tap cocktails at Two Ten Jack Nashville
Two Ten Jack is one of newest places to offer cocktails on tap. I went with the sochu ginger and pineapple tonic. The drink was light and refreshing and had a nice balance between the ginger and the sweet pineapple. Steve ordered the bourbon and spice beer drink and really loved it. I found his drink too bitter for my palate. I definitely ordered the "girly" drink and Steve went in a more "manly" direction.
Japanese pickle plate at Two Ten Jack Nashville
Since Two Ten Jack is an Izakaya joint they serve lots of small dishes to share, very similar to what you would see at a Tapas restaurant. For a snack with our cocktail we ordered the tsukemono (pickle plate). The menu said the pickles were made daily and fresh and it sure did taste that way. I loved the presentation that played up the bands of beautiful colors. I think there was burdock, jicama, beets and pepper, although I wasn't quite sure. The flavor was delicate and was a great addition to our cocktails.
Octopus takoyaki at Two Ten Jack Nashville
Our second dish was takoyaki which I haven't had since I left New York. Think of this dish as salty hush puppies with octopus. Don't let that be a deterrent- it gives the dough a light sea flavor. The takoyaki was hot out of the pan and very light. The bonito flakes added a nice burst of flavor and I LOVED the miso butter. Dipping the takoyaki in the miso butter intensified all of the flavors. THAT BUTTER WAS SO GOOD. I'm not ashamed to say that I finished what was left of the butter after all the takoyaki was gone. This is a must-order dish.
Volcano roll at Two Ten Jack Nashville
Our next dish was a choice from the small sushi and sashimi menu. The sushi here is more expensive than what you find at other places around town. We chose the volcano roll which had scallops, spicy mayo and we added snow crab, which was a special that evening. The roll was nicely balanced and I loved the delicate preparation of the scallops. The sushi rice had a smaller grain than what I am used to but overall the roll was nice, although I'm not sure worth $13.
Yakitori at Two Ten Jack Nashville

We then moved on to yakitori and ordered skewers of short rib and chicken hearts. The short rib was cooked well with a lot of pink on the inside. Medium rare always brings out the flavor. ALWAYS. The chicken hearts were surprisingly chewy. I can't remember if I ever had whole chicken hearts before so I can't compare. What I can say is that it had a great salty, spicy and sweet seasoning which won me over, allowing the texture to grow on me.
Ramen at Two Ten Jack Nashville
For our final dish we ordered the tonkotsu ramen. This dish is a pork lover's dream, with a rich pork broth and pieces of pork belly. The soy and toasted garlic flavor were present and just added to the pork fat goodness. The egg was a joy, the lightly cooked yolk just coating your tongue. The noodles were nice and al dente and didn't lose their texture in the hot soup. This dish made me so happy. I'm pretty sure I'll go back here and order a bowl of ramen just for me. NO SHARING.
Ice cream Mochi at Two Ten Jack Nashville

For dessert we did the chef sampling of ice cream Mochi. While the server told us that these are not made in house, she did say they were made for the restaurant from a small distributor. I appreciate their honesty. We had the mango, azuki bean and cinnamon flavors. I always love the mild sweetness of azuki but I was blown away by the cinnamon one. I have to say that cinnamon ice cream might be my new favorite thing.
Two Ten Jack in Nashville
I really liked my experience at Two Ten Jack. The food was great, the atmosphere was comfortable and the staff was friendly and well trained. Welcome to the neighborhood. I'm happy you're here!

Two Ten Jack on Urbanspoon


  1. Omg… I'm so jealous of Nashville for getting this restaurant. This is exactly what I want in STL! We have AWFUL Japanese food here. :( So sad since that's my favorite cuisine!! There is literally not a single restaurant here that makes in-house takoyaki and decent ramen only ever shows up as a temporary special at the super swanky places. SIGH!

    Anyway, everything you had sounds AMAZING and I think I just added this place to my "must visit" list for Nashville! I plan to apply to Porter Flea again this summer--even if I don't get in as a vendor, I want to still try to visit during that weekend so I can go! :)

  2. It be awesome if you came down for Porter Flea!!!! Let me know when you solidify your plans and I'll get the guest room ready :)


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