I’ve been eating a lot of Asian food lately. It always seems to happen round this time of year since it can be a super healthy option and all too convenient for Lent. I don’t have to worry about les animaux since I only eat the fishies anyhow. (Insert angry vegan here.) When I got together with my friend Maggie last week (for the first time in nearly four years) she requested sushi for dinner. I cannot count how many times her and I have shared many laughs over countless maki rolls. Dinner at En Japonese Brasserie was another one for the books.
We met back in 2002 when we were fashionistas and in 2005 tore up the French Riviera while I attended IPAG in Nice, France. It was never the same. (Pictured Above: Milk @ Juan-les-Pins all young and fresh faced) Our professions may have changed and so have we, but our love for sushi hasn’t!
After mourning the idea that I wouldn’t be entering the doors of Sushi Nazakawa for the next 30 days minimum (that is how far ahead you have to book) En was the next closest and best option in my hood. Literally a stone’s throw from my residence, I was excited to return to this venue. Things were different last time I dined here…I didn’t mangé les poissons.
Originally lured in by the Kaiseki Japanese tasting menus, we decided to go à la carte. I was clearly the only hungry monster wanting all-the-things. The plan was to order a couple dishes and take our time chit chatting. As always, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. Our first course was the Raw Tuna and Avocado Salad: Eastern Pacific Big Eye Tuna with avocado and wasabi shoyu dressing. There was not much spice as expected.
Our second plate was a serving of Chu Toro Sashimi: Medium Fatty Big Eye Tuna for $30.00 (included five pieces). I’d say it was good, not life changing but really fresh.
This tiny little cup was filled with the creamiest and dreamiest truffle custard I have had in 32 years. A first for everything, “Truffle Chawanmushi” (say that five times fast) is a fresh burgundy truffle egg custard that our server referred to as “a savory flan”. It was flan-like in consistency and leaned towards the salty-side but was not overbearing. The flakey truffles melted in your mouth as they hit your tongue and became one with the cream. No matter how sophisticated truffles are, I can’t help but think of the little truffiers we must thank for extracting them.
Mmm then out came this guy… One of 7 different maki rolls, “The Snow Crab Tempura and Avocado Roll” is made with just that. Served alongside it was a spicy yuzu kosho sauce for dipping. This roll had it all, a collision of all textures crunchy and smooth with the citrusy sweetness and spice of the dipping sauce…Of course I used soy too. (I embrace the occasional salty faux pas!)
Last but not least, this was actually round two of sushi. We finished off with the Nigiri plate including 8 pieces of the chef’s selection of fish. This was actually my introduction to Ikura (salmon roe). Having had some unfortunate experiences with fish, I was very apprehensive about giant roe balls. However, I’ll try most things once. To my surprise it was actually amazing. After I got over my fear of the first piece I kept popping them! There was no lingering fishy taste, just little globules of oceany mist. (PPM Fact: The correct way to consume Nigiri is with your hands.) Shocker.
Who wouldn’t be curious about a soy milk hot pot with assorted mushrooms? For some reason I was picturing a savory mushroom soup-like experience. Our server wasn’t lying when she mentioned the words “less flavorful” in regards to the other vegetable sides available. What you saw was what you got here, a hot bowl of mushrooms floating in soy milk. The bonito flakes were an attempt at improving the flavor situation, but I will just go with the assumption that our little fungus friends would be most appropriately paired with a lovely chunk of juicy Wagyu as opposed to sushi. (Poor choice on PPM’s part.)
We still threw down.
We even made room for dessert! Pictured Above: Green Tea Ice Cream Sandwich with Red Bean Paste and Fresh Berries. This dessert was the daintiest little thing ever and we almost ordered a second. However, I remembered having their black sesame ice cream years ago when I first dined at En. It was still good after all these years.
Even though neither of us are drinking, we still managed to kill a solid three hours at En catching up and eating all the delicious things. I highly recommend sitting at the sushi bar for the entertaining view. We were shocked when our check came to (only) $222.00 and realized how much more it could have been with alcohol.
During my stroll home that night I nearly froze to death as I passed the coolest townhouse for sale. It has been chilly here in NYC. Pictured above is the future pied-à-terre- Chez PeanutPimpMama. I can’t wait to make all the good things happen.
One day I will dine at En’s sister restaurant when I pass through Japan.
Peace, Love and Maki Rolls,
Address: 435 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014 Phone: (212) 647-9196