Last month I took my boyfriend, Charles* to EN Japanese Brasserie for his birthday. Charles is a Japanophile, so I picked the restaurant by googling “best Japanese restaurants nyc.” EN Japanese Brasserie is a chain in Japan, but the West Village location is their first restaurant in the US. I was particularly excited that it specialized in izakaya (Japanese style tapas), since we go out for sushi a lot and it seemed like an interesting change. I was sold when I read that the restaurant makes fresh tofu four times a day (6:00, 7:30, 9:00, 10:30).
When we arrived at EN Japanese Brasserie I was impressed by the décor, although not too pleased that we were seated at something resembling a bar/communal table (I think the individual tables were for groups of four? I’m still not quite sure because I made our reservation about a month in advance). On a related note, they also had cool/authentic looking Japanese party rooms, but they seemed more appropriate for large groups.
Charles ordered a flight of sake, which gave him the choice of three of six types of sake and came with a side of yasai chips (taro chips?). I ordered a cucumber and vodka cocktail, which was very refreshing, but contained seemingly no alcohol. I would probably choose the sake flight if I could order again.
Since the restaurant specializes in tofu, we each ordered tofu, prepared in different ways. I had the “freshly-made scooped tofu,” which you could get warm or chilled. It was definitely the smoothest and softest tofu that I’ve eaten.
Charles ordered Goma Dofu Age Dashi, described as, “sesame tofu lightly fried in a savory dashi broth with an array of mushrooms.” It was delicious, although we found it amusing that it tasted so completely different from my tofu dish (tofu is versatile! hehe).
We also ordered a raw tuna and avocado salad and three types of o-banzai (small Kyto-style dishes). For the o-banzai we choose eggplant, asparagus, and mushroom dishes. I didn’t take photos of the salad or the o-banzai because I didn’t love any of them (though the mushrooms in peanut sauce were memorable).
Overall EN Japanese Brasserie was nice (good décor and service), although pricy, which I knew beforehand. Considering I only really liked the tofu and drinks, I wouldn’t give it a high recommend, but I’m glad I tried it.
EN Japanese Brasserie/435 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014/(212) 647-9196
*Name has been changed to protect the innocent.