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1022 South J

Expertly crafted cocktails and Southern-inspired bites

The space might be small but they deliver big flavors. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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ANNOUNCER: Situated in Tacoma's Hilltop, you'll discover cocktails curated with care and a Southern-inspired menu with attention to detail. Jackie and Dutch bellied up the rail to enjoy the intimate and charming dining space that is 1022 South J.

DUTCH: The cocktail collection here is best described as creative traditional. There are familiar libations like the Manhattan, Martini, or Mojito. I ordered the Smoked Black Walnut Old Fashioned which features Old Forrester 86 whisky, with black walnut bitters, and a lowball glass that has been filled with actual smoke that is trapped with a simple coaster and released when served. And don't worry, the use of one block of ice prevents the cocktail from becoming watered down if you choose to enjoy each sip leisurely.

JACKIE: The 1022 team feels passionate about craft cocktails. If you ask your bartender to surprise you, they will ask some simple questions about flavor profile and spirit preferences, and get right to work with a twinkle in their eye. I'm a fan of their concoctions, crafty and unfamiliar but not so esoteric they're unapproachable.

DUTCH: There were several unique options on the small plates menu. One that caught my eye was the fried deviled eggs. The hard boiled whites are blanketed in panko bread crumbs, deep-fried and then covered with the creamy, tangy deviled yokes, and topped off with a pickled relish. These are not your grandma's deviled eggs ... so maybe we don't tell her how good these are!

JACKIE: Their wings are tossed in a house made sauce that teases with a touch of heat and delivers a compelling smoke that pairs nicely with bourbon. I noshed away and eavesdropped on the bartenders workshopping drinks on the opposite end of the rail.

DUTCH: With so many good sandwiches to choose from: the grilled cheese with various cheeses and sun dried tomato aioli, the BLT with bourbon spiked tomatillo jam and caramelized leeks, I ultimately went with the smoked pork shoulder. A ciabatta roll is stuffed with smoked pulled pork drenched in Carolina-style BBQ sauce and topped with a spicy Kimchi slaw that provides a sweet and spicy combination to each bite. Each sandwich also comes with fries that are hearty, crispy and served with the skin on just like I like it.

JACKIE: I dived into their Po'Boy with fried shrimp. The shrimp were big meaty fellas and lightly battered, boasting a lovely golden brown crunch. Slaw, lettuce, tomatoes and lemon cayenne aioli are sandwiched between a roll. If fries don't tickle your fancy, you can opt for other sides including the creamy polenta cake. With a spattering of hot sauce, you're finishing the meal strong. I'll be back again soon to sip on the Quiet Contemplation again. Suntory Toki, Kuma Tumeric and Buckwheat Tea Cube was delicate and boozy all at once. I'm a fan.

1022 SOUTH J, 11 a.m. to midnight, Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Friday-Saturday, 1022 South J St., Tacoma, 253.627.8588,

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