En Japanese Brasserie
En Japanese Brasserie opened up to mixed reviews and lots of hoopla. Maybe it was the supposed scene and the mixed reviews which is why I never went. It is certainly in my neighborhood and I have passed it many times. This large over the top looking restaurant. I have sort of just been waiting for it to close. But En has surprised me because it is still standing. We finally made our way there with 2 other couples on Thursday night. An even bigger surprise is that the food was quite good.
Low lights, a few private rooms, a large open kitchen and a high end Japanese look. Sort of reminds me of Los Angles, not sure why. We had the true benefit of being with one person who lived in Japan for an extended period of time and happens to speak fluid Japanese. We tried food that I wouldn't have even given a second thought about on the menu. The sister restaurant happens to be in Japan.
We started off with the classic edamame and marinated thinly sliced veggies. We drank a drink that was a combo of vodka/sake. Bottled like sake but not as sugary. Our friend drank it with warm water. Probably great for a cold but Fred and I went with it over the rocks. Very mild yet tasty. Interesting since I had never even heard about it before. Would definitely order again.
Then the food came out. The first thing looked like clear gummy worms with pieces of green running through it. Strange looking and a weird texture but really good. This is made of tarot. You dip it in a sauce that is miso based, put a little bit of chopped radishes and scallions on top and pop it in your mouth. Quite good. We also had a miso tasting. That was excellent. Four different cups of miso pastes. One was peanut butter based, one was chili based and spicy and the other two were interesting and delicious. This is served with sliced of green and red cabbage. You take the wooden stick and rub the miso over your cabbage. Very light.
We had house-made tofu that was silky and tasty. You would scoop a little bit into your bowl and then pour a dashi sauce over the top for taste. Another way we tasted tofu was just having the skin that gels over the surface served with a citrus sauce. Interesting. We also had a deep fried tarot mash that sort of looked like a corn dog which was also interesting. Chopped shrimp served like fritters with a salt to dip into was excellent. The tiny squid served with an uni miso tasted old and weird. That I would not go back for. Classic miso black cod which was really well done.
Deep fried boneless chicken thighs were quite excellent. A mixture of interesting rolls too. Dessert came. A mixture of ice creams. Green tea, red bean, apple, black sesame and the best was this intense vanilla. They also ordered a red bean tiramasu. Strange but supposedly authentic.
So glad we went. Really delicious. Our friend, who spent serious time in Japan, loved it. Will definitely be going back. Guess I shouldn't judge a book by the cover.