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EN Japanese Brasserie -- longish review

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EN Japanese Brasserie -- longish review

Simon | Apr 25, 2005 01:01 AM

So i finally tried this place this weekend on a slow, late evening...while it was a pleasant night out, there were a couple big problems w/ food and service and i won't be rushing back there anytime soon...

The room is highly designed yet quite pleasant, and we sat at a comfy black banquette...the host was friendly...

Food:

-- the much hyped fresh warm tofu: nice and creamy and perfectly fine, yet the hype seems a little extreme to me...if i tried it again i'd probably go for the chilled version which was unavailable when we ordered...(and yes, i've had fresh tofu dishes all over Japan and i do have a frame of reference)...

-- the EN house salad...greens w/ a wonderful giant pancake-sized piece of yuba (tofu skin) on top w/ a sesame dressing...this would have been a complete hit, except that the greens were full of sand/grit...at the prices they charge there, i think they can afford to soak and wash their salad greens properly...

-- the steamed daikon w/ mountain yam and minced chicken...a decent country dish...daikon texture was particularly good...

-- chu-toro...here was a problem: on one hand, the fish was incredibly fresh and fatty (almost closer to o-toro in richness), and it was artfully presented on a bed of ice w/ herb garnish...but, three of the five pieces of fish had unchewable bits of sinew (is that the right word for fish grizzle?) which we were forced to spit out (completely totally rawhide-like in toughness), which was a pity since otherwise the fish was delightful...i complained about this in an extremely polite way: "This fish is fresh and lovely, etc, but i believe it's been poorly cut" (noting the chewed sinew on our plates)...the waitress could only manage a small shrug, not even an apology nor a replacement piece or two...now, for 25 dollars for these five pieces, i think they could manage to get someone to cut the fish properly?...it's not a bad price for chu-toro, but i think it's not too much to ask for those five pieces to be edible in their entirety...(this would never, ever have happened at Jewel Bako or JB Makimono)...

-- yuzu sorbet was delightful and not-too-sweet, a perfect, light dessert...

I really wanted to like this place, and it does have a lot going for it...but the above problems were fairly damning...less smug service, a clean salad, and a couple replacement pieces of tuna would have gone a long way toward generating repeat business...

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