Service: ☆☆☆ ½
Fit for: special occasions, romantic evening,
Dishes not to miss: handmade tofu, grilled black cod, fig ice cream
EN is the American debut of a modern, classy, izakaya style restaurant that is very popular in Japan. An izakaya is a sort of Japanese pub or drinking house where small plates of food are served.
Set in the West Village, EN occupies a magnificent 5,000 sq. ft space. Designer Ichiro Sato has captured the simple elegance of Japanese design in the interiors of this stunning restaurant which includes a lounge area, a main dinning room, an open kitchen and two private Tatami rooms.
Executive Chef, Koji Nakano, and Chef de Cuisine, Abe Hiroki have focused the menu on fresh seasonal ingredients and allowing the flavor of the ingredients to be the stars of the dish
As you enter the main dinning room, all who are working in the open kitchen, greets you loudly with a warm welcome. All of this is done whilst they are birthing a batch of hand scooped tofu, which is made fresh every hour and a half. They also make their own miso, shoyu and fly in their fish and seasonal ingredients from Japan.
So with everything is place…. a great concept, wonderful ingredients and a beautiful space – EN, for me fails to deliver what I expected on the food front.
The tofu is very good but I’ve had much better in Japan. The black miso cod was delicious but was served with a tasteless mound of radish that needed a hint of flavoring added to it, which would have made the dish outstanding.
I felt like EN kept just kept missing the mark on its dishes. A dash more flavor here and a pinch more punch there could truly produce phenomenal food that would complement the environs.
I do think that the foods offered here at EN does expose us to a different side of Japanese cuisine, which is rare. It is definitely worth a try.
Here is some of what we ate:
Handmade tofu with wari joyu
Steamed asparagus with sesame paste
Daikon with fried tofu
Grilled black cod marinated in saikyo miso
Stone grilled washugyu ( Kobe-style rib eye steak) served with ponzu citrus soy