Tag Archives: cod

EN Japanese Brasserie

EN Japanese BrasserieEN Japanese Brasserie
435 Hudson St
(between Leroy St & St Lukes Pl)
New York, NY 10014

EN Japanese Brasserie is one of the first Japanese restaurants I had heard of when I moved to NYC. It is one of those places “everyone” has been to and deems to be a good place. I had never been because there have been so many cuter, smaller Japanese restaurants in NYC that always make the cut over EN. After a very long week at work, LAW and I finally made last minute reservations for a late dinner at EN. Our table wasn’t ready so I immediately got a drink to force myself to relax (is this how I know I’m getting old?). I had the Ginger Cocktail ($13), which was a mixture of homemade ginger ale, rice shochu “Shiro,” lime juice, and soda. The drink was very light, too light for my purposes, but pleasant. The homemade ginger ale was soothing and gentle. The lime juice added just a little acidity to the ginger and rice shochu. The drink was so light to begin with that they really needed to use one of those gigantic ice cubes because the mini crushed ice cubes they used diluted the drink too quickly.

EN Japanese BrasserieWe ordered the EN Kaiseki ($65), which is the smaller of the two prix fixe menus offered. Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese multi-course dinner. The meal is meant to be balanced and seasonal.

The kaiseki starts with an O-Banzai, a chef’s selection of three small Kyoto-style appetizers. We had the Hijiki (hijiki seaweed and soy bean simmered in shoyu), Zenmai Piri-Kara (royal fern sprouts in a spicy shichimi togarashi) and Kinoko Kiriboshi Daikon Ohitashi (assorted Japanese mushrooms & sun dried daikon radish with yuzu). All three were chilled, delicious, and balanced. The hijiki seaweed was sweet and tasted slightly of miso. Unlike the typical green, flat, and crunchy seaweed salad you find, hijiki is cylindrical and chewy (super QQ!). Delicious. The zenmai piri-kara was my least favorite only because I tend to not like mushy things – the royal fern sprouts were quite mushy. My favorite was the kinoko kiriboshi daikon ohitashi. The assorted Japanese mushrooms were bulbous little buds and tremendously fragrant. I had never had sun dried daikon before. It tastes less bitter than fresh daikon. The yuzu was so light, slightly sweet, and slightly citrusy. I can imagine the sauce tasting great with a nice fillet of fish…

EN Japanese Brasserie
The next course was the Chef’s Sashimi Selection. Bear in mind that photos are only of one portion. We didn’t have to share (more for us!). The chef’s selection wasn’t exactly much of a selection because it included just the basics: salmon, tuna, and yellowtail. I love the basics so it wasn’t a problem. The sashimi was overall decent quality but since I have been going to Kura so often lately, very little can compare.

EN Japanese BrasserieSaikyo Miso Marinated Grilled Black Cod was next. It tasted similar to the Robataya one that I love but was a smaller fillet and less fatty. Flavor was perfect but was lacking the crispy fatty skin that I also love. Continue reading EN Japanese Brasserie

New Kid on the Block – Kura’s Omakase Leaves You Feeling Happy

IMG_8528Kura
130 St Mark’s Pl
(between Avenue A & 1st Ave)
New York, NY 10009

Kura is a new Japanese restaurant on St. Mark’s that is NOT owned by the St. Mark’s Japanese restauranteur legend (who owns Soba-YaRobatayaCha-AnCurry-Ya, and Shabu-Tatsu). It’s actually owned by Huey Cheng, a fellow middle school classmate of mine from Beijing. He recently moved to New York and has been working on this venture with Chef Ishizuka (with many more to come).

Kura is an intimate sushi restaurant that doesn’t have a menu. It’s currently hidden under some scaffolding, but even without the scaffolding, the entrance is small enough that one might just walk past it. It also doesn’t have windows. All these things make it sound like a pretentiously expensive restaurant, but it isn’t. At all. Kura is modestly elegant; the smooth, matte, white ash wood decor makes the place feel homey. It’s just dim enough and small enough to feel intimate; yet, the soft warm lighting allows you to see your food clearly and the seating is arranged such that you don’t feel claustrophobic (even without the windows.)

IMG_8505
LAW took me here on Tuesday night and we tried the omakase with both cooked foods and sushi. Chef Ishizuka specializes in Osaka cuisine, which tends to be on the sweeter side. We started with a yellowtail sashimi with a light ponzu type sauce with lots of scallions. The chef includes some kind of fish skin chopped up in the mixture, which adds a little fattiness and, surprisingly, crunchiness. It is slightly sweet with a citrus aftertaste. LAW claims this is the best yellowtail he has ever had in his life.
Continue reading New Kid on the Block – Kura’s Omakase Leaves You Feeling Happy

Nai Tapas – someone please explain.


Nai Tapas Bar
174 First Ave
New York, NY 10009

Meh.  I was looking for a good tapas place in East Village to take my family and some family friends because some of them had never had tapas before.  I am really not well-versed in the tapas scene in NYC so relied heavily on Yelp and friends.  Nai Tapas Bar is probably the highest rated in East Village with 4.5 stars on Yelp and Urban Spoon, and was also recommended to me multiple times by friends.  They also took reservations which was a big plus for a big group.  I ordered a variety of things and nothing stood out, especially not the watered-down sangria.

Chorizo A La Plancha ($5.50/$11.00)* – grilled Spanish sausage wrapped in a fried potato chip.  It tastes like how it looks.  Not bad, not great.  Sausage was decent but didn’t have any particular flavors and wasn’t dry nor juicy… what else to say? Continue reading Nai Tapas – someone please explain.

Robataya: Gindara Saikyo Yaki (fillet of cod fish steeped in saikyo miso)

Robataya
231 E 9th St
(between Stuyvesant St & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003

This is the best Japanese Miso Cod I have ever had. It is extremely tasty, soft, tender, and flaky. The skin is slightly crisp, complimenting the natural buttery taste of the cod. Cod is also a plump fish that absorbs flavor very well. The miso that they use is a golden yellow paste that is traditionally made in Kyoto. It is naturally sweet from the fermentation process and contains less salt than most misos. The flavor of misos is affected by the ratio of soy beans to rice malt. This particular kind of miso has a higher proportion of rice malt, hence the sweetness.

At $13 per fillet (two fillets pictured), this fish is quite an expensive treat. Like all the other delicacies that Robataya serves up, this fish is well worth the occasional splurge.