Tag Archives: Japanese culture

Japan on the Hudson

The Japanese Mall

After my family trip to the Hudson River Valley, we stopped at the Japanese Mall in Edgewater, NJ on the way home.  We used to go to the Japanese Mall a lot when I was younger and would always have dinner at the beautiful Japanese steakhouse overlooking the Hudson.  Unfortunately, the steakhouse is out of business, but the mall is still worth a visit.

Stores at the Japanese Mall

Food court at the mall

When we arrived at the mall, our first stop was the supermarket, where we were overwhelmed by the large variety of Japanese products.

Rice milling machine

Who knew there are so many varieties of miso?

Tofu?

Half an aisle devoted to panko (breadcrumbs)

There were also some products with funny packaging and terms that didn’t translate so well.

"Good Good Eat" ramen noodles

Cute Kewpie mayo in a bag

Curry that is perfect for the Jewish New Year

"Fruity salad" juice made me smile

Pretty Sake bottles

We bought some sashimi to have for dinner later and then visited the food court for a snack.  There were lots of Japanese restaurants and one misplaced Italian restaurant.  I was excited to see that the Japanese restaurants had plastic food displays, which I first learned is popular in Japan from the Sesame Street special, “Big Bird Goes to Japan” (now, THAT was quality children’s programming!).

Plastic food display

Another plastic food display

Plastic food close-up

I bought an iced green tea latte, which I had never had before.  I wouldn’t get it again, but it was interesting to try.

Tea and ice cream menu. My green tea latte is on the right.

Before leaving we stopped to admire the beautifully packaged jellied treats at the bakery.  Some of the packaging was more appealing than the pastries, but I would be curious to try one on our next trip.

Japanese bakery

Pastries in packaging that reminded me of soap

Cute bunnies on the left

Cake and mochi

I had a really fun time at the Japanese mall and I would love to go back to the food court for a meal.  It looked like a few of the store fronts were empty, but I did see a Shiseido make up store and a bookstore.  There was also a sign for a free shuttle from NYC, although it says on the website that the shuttle is $3 dollars.  Either way, it’s a good deal and a great mini-trip from NYC for Japanese culture immersion.

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Tofu Made 4X-Daily: EN Japanese Brasserie

Main room/semi-communal seating at EN Japanese Brasserie

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.

Sake flight and chips

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.

Freshly-made scooped tofu

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).

Fried sesame tofu

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.

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