EN Japanese Brasserie
435 Hudson St
New York, NY 10014
b/t Leroy St & St Lukes Pl in West Village
November 23, 2013
Local Honey – White oak Akashi blend whisk, local honey with wasabi, beefeater gin and bee pollen
Three O-Banzai - Royal fern sprouts and shitake mushrooms in spicy shichimi togarashi sauce / Assorted Japanese mushrooms and sun-dried daikon radish with yuzu / shoyu-braised thinly sliced pork belly & lotus root
Okayu – white rice porridge cooked with an egg, tableside with an assortment of 8 toppings
Uni Don – fresh raw Santa Barbara, CA sea urchin and salmon roe atop white rice with grated mountain yam and mekabu seaweed mizuna and watercress salad & miso soup
I was surprised to find porridge in a Japanese restaurant, but while I expected congee, what arrived was far firmer and drier. Its staggering number of topping options confused my mind with Korean Bibimbap for a second and later my taste. The uni don was standard, but at a pricey $31, made me doubtful if I got what I paid for. However, I really want to extol the mind-altering cocktail. I tend to sidestep honey and cinnamon involved cocktails since I dislike my cocktails to be too sweet, but I was drawn to the local honey. The flavor of whiskey was crystal clear, and the burst of bee pollen added a perfect amount of sweetness in an almost instant way. Besides, brunch at EN was leisurely with lots of natural light and seasonal decor like cherry blossoms, and best of all, no big crowd as during dinner time..
Hourly made scooped tofu with wari-joyu
Age dashi tofu and stewed figs & squash in a savory dashi broth
Toro salmon aburi sushi
Uni don (rice with a generous portion of Santa Barbara, CA sea urchin, mountain yam, mekabu and salmon roe)
Black sea bass nitsuke (shoyu-braised whole local black sea bass)
One of my best midweek treats was EN’s signature tofu. It had that indescribably silky texture, and the tofu itself was naturally a little sweet, so there was really no need to bother with the accompanying sauce. Another thing exciting about EN is that they always cook with the season (like the use of fig and squash in late fall). Unfortunately, all the raw dishes were only at about average level. But the sheer simplicity of braised fish saved the game at last. Service here was super attentive. Our overall dining experience was pleasant. And remember, a better dinner did a bottle of sake make.