You know those days that you want sushi but you want something more than just raw fish – something that teases your tastebuds, something different from you stark plain sushi restaurants, something a little more exciting? Go to EN Japanese Brasserie.
I met Kale there with two of her friends for evening supper on a really blazing hot and oppressive Tuesday evening. I had been to this restaurant before years and years ago on a date but didn’t really remember much about the food. I thought that this place might not work for me because I really was just craving some straight up sushi and soba noodles but boy am I glad I came!
We sat down and ordered three O-banzai (which is Kyoto style small appetizers). And they were delicious!
My favorite was the shoyu-braised thinly sliced pork belly & lotus root.
The pork was so tender, sliced thin and had a wonderful umami – which is considered by the Japanese to be the fifth flavor: savoriness. The lotus root has a wonderful sticky crunchy bite that did really well with the pork. The flavors were so rich and yet so delicate. I really really enjoyed this dish more than you know.
My next favorite was to the Japanese Royal fiddlehead fern in a spicy shichimi togarashi.
Koreans eat a version of this and it has a bite like very soft and tender root or mushroom. It’s somewhat hard to explain so you really just need to experience it. It has a delicious earthy flavor and tastes very much of fall. If you like mushrooms, you’ll like this.
My least favorite (but still delicious) was the hijiki seaweed and soy bean simmered in dashi & shoyu.
The seaweed was a bit tough because of the type of seaweed and I didn’t feel the soy bean really contributed much. However, the flavors were simple clean and tasted of the sea. My dining companions loved this small plate.
We next got EN’s famous miso black cod. (every good Japanese restaurant seems to claim this dish as their “signature must have dish” don’t you think?)
The fish was incredibly buttery, moist, flaky and well marinated in miso. Definitely had us all “ooing and ahhing” but truthfully, nothing I’ve never had before. Delicious nonethless.
I had been CRAVING buckwheat soba noodles (I love them) and so I got the cold buckwheat soba noodles dipped in a warm savory duck broth. It’s a main but we ate it as an appetizer.
Noodles were handmade and had the perfect springiness to them. Because soba noodles don’t have much flavor, they are typically cooked with or dipped into a broth of some sort. They are incredibly healthy though. The broth was SO full bodied and rich with a lovely duck flavor imparted in it. You can’t tell but there were three meaty and delectable slices of duck meat in the broth that were so tender and rich I could have eaten all three. The combination of that broth with the springy noodles easily made this my favorite dish of the night. Next time I get as an appetizer ALL FOR ME! The flavors are clean but fully in the forefront due to that broth. Kale said I shouldn’t be drinking it but I requested a spoon and scooped up every bit of that salty broth…..me love salt!
For the piece de resistance, we got the largest sushi platter for four: 32 pieces of sushi with three rolls. Four pieces of each fish so it worked out perfect.
As we expected, the sushi was fresh and delicious. I was so happy. I got my fresh sushi, got my delicious soba and some additional surprises in the meal. I will definitely be back and I’m dragging my boyfriend here because he loves sushi (and deliciousness) just as much!
Run, do not walk, to EN. Promise, you won’t be sorry. I gotta admit, I’m a little obsessed.
EN Japanese Brasserie, 435 Hudson Street, New York, NY