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EN review (long)

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EN review (long)

ponkikki | Jan 8, 2005 11:28 PM

went to EN on Fri 9pm. IMO, go there for the atmosphere if you are still in love with Mortal Combat, and not for the food, or at least, don't expect real quality Japanese food. Having said that, I don’t really criticize their lack of attention to the detail in design of all aspects (for instance, we were seated by the large window and were freezing b/c cold wind came from somewhere), and also their lack of care in selecting quality ingredients b/c the price wasn’t as high as I thought. But, I felt everything was “ambivalent”, I mean, interior and staff uniform not quite chic but not quite kitsch; food not horrible but not good either.

We ordered: yuba sashimi; soft warm tofu; mochi croquette; miso sampler; daikon radish in miso sauce; egg omelet with mitsuba leaves; birkshire pork belly; fried chicken; rice pot with fresh crab; hoji-cha ice-cream.

Yuba sashimi: real thing, i.e., not reconstituted dried yuba; good volume good texture, but needed better shoyu and dashi (stock made from fish / kelp / dried mushroom, etc.).

Soft and warm tofu: nice and creamy, but bit too bland for my taste; lacks the real depth in flavor of tofu, but some might not like too much fresh soy flavor. So, EN version will appeal to more customers. Making their own tofu is quite a courageous move, so I applaud EN for this. However, I’m just curious what they do with an astronomical amount of ‘okara’ afterwards b/c I didn’t notice any dish making good use of okara. Do they just buy soymilk from somewhere else and not make their own?? If so, it’s like cheating… I’m very suspicious.

Mochi croquette: nothing but fried mochi in some shoyu-based starchy sauce. Maybe a new concept, but did they forget to add something?

Daikon in miso sauce: all ingredients not quite coming together. Ebisu’s version is so much better. (Ebisu: 9th St between Ave. A and 1st Ave.)

Miso sampler: four kinds of miso, all too sweet and felt like they are out of jar condiments, and something artificial. You could use them for eating other dishes, like egg omelet, if you like.

Egg omelet with mitsuba leaves: this is good if you like mint&basil&parsley-like flavor of mitsuba. Very simple. But, again, they need to use better dashi stock.

Pork Belly: liked the fact that it was shimmered long enough to get rid of excess fat so the actual fat part didn’t taste too greasy, but full of collagen. Daikon radish pieces that came with it need better care since they were not integrated with the flavor of the dish as a whole. We noticed that they probably just prepare one huge pot of shimmered daikon and use it for both ‘daikon in miso sauce’ and for this ‘pork belly’ thing. Not the best way to cook.

Fried chicken: I’m sorry if the waitperson (he was very nice) heard me saying, “you’ve got to be kidding, this is worse than KFC”…I didn’t mean to scream but couldn’t help b/c saggy, greasy, and lukewarm (ughhhhh!)

Rice pot with fresh crab: need to order knowing that it takes 40 minutes (it is indicated on the menu). It tasted fine, but not that special. To my taste, it was too salty. Rice is cooked with fresh crab legs in a clay pot; you get to eat the meat off the crab legs which is fun.

Hoji-cha icecream: this might have been the best thing out of all the stuff we ate… Very creamy with refreshing touch of aroma of hoji-cha, roasted tea flavor. Loved this.

Sorry my review isn’t too well animated, but all in all---been there once, won’t go back to EN.

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