…on good food, questionable judgment, and making life work
My birthday just passed, last weekend to be precise, and it was a helluva day.
The craziest thing was that some jackass broke in through the roof of one of my stores and while they didn’t make away with anything, they sure caused me a hell of a lotta problems and put me in a funk.
I initially did not want to go to Two Ten Jack for my birthday. I’m generally averse to checking out a new place within its first month. Man, am I ever glad that my wife talked me into it. (I’ve only been proven wrong once, and that was with Josephine)
A few things you should know about Two Ten Jack. First of all, it’s named after a Japanese card game. Second is that you’re really going to want to have a reservation. Here’s the catch: You have to have a part of 6 or more and they stop seating reservation parties after 6:30. I have never felt more lucky to have a reservation in my life, because by the time that we were seated, there was a two hour wait.
And I understand why. Like a true Japanese izakaya, you’re going to be sitting here and drinking and eating for a loooooong time. And that is a great thing, trust me. Our entire meal played out over the course of just under 3 hours, and the pacing was excellent for the most part.
While were waiting for the rest of the party to arrive (and watching the bemused faces of the poor schmucks finding out how long they were going to have to wait), the hostess started talking up some of the cocktails. They batch-make all of their cocktails, a program that is another fine creation of the team from PourTaste. What that means in practice is that basically they have mass quantities of mixed drinks or punches if you will available on demand. This speeds up booze service and makes life easy for both sides of the bar and is all the rage right now. They also have a ton of beer, both draft and bottles, sake, shochu, and other booze I will probably judge you for ordering.
We finally got our shit together and got seated and we were off. Drink orders went in and the first course was a delicious moist towel.
I’m pretty sure it was organic. I opted for the Shochu pineapple/ginger tonic as my first bevvie (the New Belgium Yuzu I split with some friends didn’t count as we weren’t seated yet). The server misunderstood me, because I said “I’ll take the first batch cocktail” which he heard as “I wanted the Number 1 cocktail”, which was actually number 3 on the menu. So I got Broker’s gin, Cynar, plum & peppercorn shrub, lemon cordial, Peychuad’s bitters, which wasn’t what I wanted, but was booze, and you’re not going to see this guy complain. I did get a chance to try the pineapple/ginger tonic, and it was exquisite, as was the Bourbon and Spice Beer (the second batch cocktail on the menu, but not to be confused with the No 2., which was actually number 4 on the menu. Confused?)
Next came the ordering of food. Unfortunately, there have been some fucking morons who have written reviews bitching about portion sizes here. Which is what I just hate about Yelp sometimes; everyone has an opinion, even the idiots who just don’t know any better. Guess what? That’s how this place is supposed to work. Get a shitload of small plates, eat them over hours, share, and be merry. And at the end, kill that bowl of ramen to sate any last hunger doubts you may have and waddle away with a sloshy belly. And that is why the small plates are $6-8 mainly. The Yakitori is $4-6 for the most part. It’s enough to taste and share – not enough to fill you up (that’s what the ramen is for, assholes!).
For the first round, we hit the small plates and chose:
So, there were a couple of screw ups and things didn’t make it to us until an hour or so after we ordered, I’ll get to that, but here’s what we did get first: (I’d also like to take this moment to thank Jerry, one of my dining companions and holder of an honest-to-god American Idol Dream Ticket, for being my food holding model)
Yes, so the Takoyaki and Brussells sprouts got left behind. That’s ok. Here’s the deal. The tofu is great, but you’re going to have to distract your fellow patrons if you want to stand a chance to eat from the plate and get every morsel off. The dumplings were freaking perfect. And I would recommend getting a couple of orders, because ours didn’t last long. The Wagyu beef is tender, delicious and may be still mooing if you listen carefully. And the fries. I didn’t order the fries. I didn’t ask for them. But I’ll be damned if they aren’t delicious. They are like deep-fried mashed potato spears served with an amazing sauce. You’re damn right we ordered more. (and some more dumplings)
Because it was my birthday and could do anything I wanted, I ordered:
I was contractually obligated to order “the always sunny roll” because of the D.E.N.N.I.S. System – it was delicious and exactly what I wanted, but sadly the pastrami hamachi never came, and I was a bit too tipsy to care at the time. And frankly, I was already thinking about the yakitori too much.
And here’s what I did:
End result? Everything was perfect. It was exactly what my body needed at this point in the evening. It’s like the restaurant knew. Everything tasted so good. By this time my phone was on its last legs, so no more pictures other than this dim Takoyaki, which was freaking delightful, especially with the butter, and the Brussells sprouts, which frankly I think are WAY played out in general, but these guys piqued my interest on this cabbage cousin for the first time in YEARS! They were superb!
Which left us to ramen. For those that bitch about Otaku South’s pricing, guess what, it’s more expensive at the $12-14 range. And also, stop bitching. What can I say, I got the pork bowl, it was full of lovely things, and made my night complete. What else is there? The vegetarians loved theirs too.
We sloshed out and walked up the way to Jeni’s Ice Cream and closed out the night with a magnificent dessert (but always avoid anything with Black Walnut). And needless to say, there was no more funk left by the time I was home. The night was simply amazing – opening issues be damned!
So, bottom line, this joint is the cat’s pajamas, but for the love of god get a reservation or you’ll be standing outside in your lady jeans, scarf, ironic oversized glasses, stupid hat that only Pharrell can pull off, and smoking American Spirits looking all mopey. Oh wait, you’re already good at that.