Two Ten Jack bases its menu on Japanese-inspired comfort food and handmade, kodawari ramen, complemented by a wide array of unique spirits, beers and handcrafted cocktails — Photo courtesy of Two Ten Jack
In a neighborhood that all of the sudden seemed to have every kind of establishment, no matter how unique or innovative, Two Ten Jack was still able to offer something truly unique when it opened its doors in Walden’s Phase II in East Nashville at the start of 2014.
A Japanese-inspired neighborhood pub, or izakaya, Two Ten Jack impressed immediately with its international spin on an American standard from decor to dessert.
The tradition of a Japanese izakaya lies in their neighborhood bars, where people unwind after a long day, starting with drinks and then later enjoying food with friends. Found in rural and urban Japan, izakaya have historically been designated by red lanterns.
Two Ten Jack starts off that neighborhood feel with friendly bartenders, led by Bar Manager Shannon Wright, and an unpretentious and comfortable environment that epitomizes the true izakaya experience as an urban gathering spot for the community.
One of the most popular drinks at Two Ten Jack is a Japanese take on the traditional Western vodka tonic, using house-prepared ginger-lemongrass tonic and shochu, the Japanese distilled spirit similar to vodka — Photo courtesy of Two Ten Jack
Any traditional izakaya experience begins immediately with a drink, hence Two Ten Jack’s extensive, custom tap program that ranges from cocktails and wine to shochu, sake and a carefully curated selection of craft beer.
In fact, what can be found on tap are 16 beers, four cocktails, one red wine, one white wine, one house shochu (a distilled spirit similar to vodka) and one house sake.
Two Ten Jack offers the widest selection of shochu in Nashville with nine options, including different styles of shochu, some distilled from rice, barley, sweet potato and buckwheat. It also offers house-infused shochu, 18 sakes by the glass and 21 sakes by the bottle.
Japanese beer on tap includes Kirin Ichiban, Hitachino Espresso Stout and Hitachino White Ale, and many more by the bottle like hard-to-find-in-America Japanese Classic Ale from Hitachino Nest.
Two Ten Jack offers 18 sakes by the glass and 21 sakes by the bottle — Photo courtesy of Two Ten Jack
Two Ten Jack makes tonics, juices and shrubs in house, and guests can expect the menu to change seasonally as produce options change.
Their most popular drinks include Shochu and tonic using house-prepared ginger-lemongrass tonic and shochu, and the handcrafted Hattori Hanzo with Reposado tequila, roasted jalapeno agave syrup, pomegranate, cilantro, celery bitters and lime, rimmed with housemade celery salt.
Another tap treasure is the “Number One” cocktail with New Amsterdam gin, cynar, plum and peppercorn shrub, lemon cordial and peychauds bitters.
A bartender prepares a drink at Two Ten Jack — Photo courtesy of Two Ten Jack
Drinks are followed with several courses of Japanese tapas-style small plates, such as yakitori (skewers), sashimi and savory fried items. Food is to be eaten as it is served, and rounds of food and drink alternate as the night progresses in a convivial manner.
Start with some crispy brussels or JFC (short for "Japanese Fried Chicken"), move on to some sashimi and then dive into a steaming bowl of ramen.
Just make sure you're hungry enough to eat it there: leftovers and doggy bags are not offered, since ramen doesn't travel well.
Authenticity is the goal at Two Ten Jack, reaffirmed by Owner Patrick Burke's recent trek to Japan for menu inspiration, and whatever he brings back will only add to the current menu of food that features kodawari ramen, grilled yakitori skewers, sushi rolls and sashimi and other Japanese-inspired pub comfort food that works in harmony with local, Southern ingredients.
Up next? A Chattanooga outpost.
Food like classic chicken ramen is to be eaten as it's served — Photo courtesy of Two Ten Jack