Meal: Lunch on 16 April
Venue: 435 Hudson St, New York, NYC – If you’re looking to expand your Japanese culinary world outside of Sushi, then EN Japanese Brasserie is the place for you.
Gekko Spotters: Ryan and Helen
Japanese cuisine is as diverse and varied as they come, ranging from the simple to the exquisite, with sushi only making up a small speciality in this wide range of culinary delights. However, many of us will solely visit sushi bars and will therefore miss out on the classic Japanese cooking that is, in many respects, even more enjoyable. If you’re looking to expand your horizons or sample real Japanese food, then you need to visit EN Japanese Brasserie in New York.
Located in New York’s West Village, EN Japanese Brasserie is an elegant and stylish restaurant, with warm woods, elegantly styled decor with a brooding but relaxed feel to it, interspersed with touches of Japanese flair to draw the eye. EN aims to emulate classic Japanese home cooking in a venue that closely replicates a classic Japanese home. Having spent some time in Japan, I have been lucky enough to stay with a number of Japanese families, and it is this experience that has led me to conclude that EN has the Japanese home dining experience perfectly replicated. A superb venue to enjoy some fantastic Japanese cuisine.
As in all Japanese restaurants, the staff need to have a firm knowledge of the food with a strong motivation to advise and direct the guests towards the meals that they would most enjoy. However, so often I have eaten in a Japanese restaurant having to guess which meals I’d like, and which dishes to avoid. Happily, the staff at EN relish this task and provided exemplary service. We were seated quickly and were talked through the diverse menu by a fantastic waiter who, quite simply, cared for our experience. As a relatively inexperienced Japanese diner, Helen settled on a fixed seven course menu for $45 which I decided to join her on. This menu included:
1. Edamame- soaked in dashi
2. Tofu Salad- mizuna greens, cherry tomatoes & Japanese turnips with yuzu dressing
3. Crispy fried chicken & vegetables- with aromatic rock salt
4. Saikyo Miso Black Cod- black cod marinated in saikyo miso, grilled
5. Kakuni braised Berkshire pork belly- in sansho miso, with a boiled egg, spinach & daikon radish
6. Jako Gohan- steamed Japanese rice mixed with tiny dried fish
7. Green Tea Ice Cream
For both of us, the highlights were the Berkshire pork belly and the crispy fried chicken. I’m a huge fan of Japanese crispy fried chicken, and this was no exception. It was cooked to perfection, beautifully moist with a nice crispy coating to add extra flavour and texture, with a hint of lemon. The pork belly was out of this world, tender and flavoursome, melting in the mouth. The only dish on the menu that I disliked was the rice dish at the end, which I felt was cliched and unnecessarily fishy (the tiny dried fish were not needed) and a bit too strong to enjoy so close to dessert. The image below is of the Miso Glazed black cod, which looked spectacular and tasted great:
Verdict: If you’re looking to expand your horizons and to eat real Japanese food, then EN Japanese Brasserie is perfect for you. I thoroughly enjoyed eating there, the staff were fantastic, the food was extremely tasty and diverse, and it was a joy to relax in the stylish interior. I can’t recommend this restaurant enough.