Category Archives: Japanese

Hide Chan Ramen

I don’t know how many times I have to reiterate myself, but I love ramen! It’s definitely one of my most favorite foods ever. Honestly, picture yourself gazing out upon a freezing New York night while enjoying your delicious warm bowl of ramen. Surreal no?After reading an interesting blog post regarding Hide Chan and their unique offering of ramen, a couple of friends and I decided to grab a quick bite there.

The Pork Buns although delicious are nowhere on the same level of the ones served at Ippudo. The pork is grilled and seared which brings out a ton of flavor. However, they’re not as tender as you would’ve expected, I occasionally had a tough bite. Disappointing. The sauce is a perfect medium, where it’s tasty enough to give it an extra dimension, however mellow enough where it doesn’t dominate the flavor of the pork. Also, what’s up with the iceberg lettuce? Kind of ugly no? The chicken wings have a nostalgic texture and flavor that reminded me of something my grandma used to whip up back in the day. So, brownie points for unknowingly striking up memories from my past and serving it up on a dish.Let me introduce you to the Mega Ton, and boy does it live up to its name. I know I should’ve took the picture along with another dish, but just trust me when I say this bowl was HUGE. Those pieces of delicious pork were all the size of a baby’s knuckle. A common downfall with such generous sized dishes is the drop off in flavor and overall quality of the dish, however not so with the Mega Ton.Next up is the Hakata Spicy Miso Ramen. The hot rayu oil poured across the bowl resonates through out the entire dish when it’s stirred in. Although done well, the dish lacks a certain facet of uniqueness and just feels like something that I’ve had in the past.Ahh. The Hakata Kuro Ramen aka the Black Ramen, the sole reason why I actually chose to eat at Hide Chan Ramen in the first place. Although you probably can’t notice much in this black mess, the bowl is packed with individual flavors that marry and become a dish. The first thing that you probably notice flavor-wise is the garlic, which I absolutely love. Another great addition are the black mushrooms (which I don’t know exactly which kind), almost have the texture of seaweed, but taste great!Finally, we have the Hiyashi Tskuke-Men with a dipping soba broth laced with spicy sesame oil. I was impressed by how well all the ramen noodles were cooked, but especially with the cold ramen. Usually, the noodles become too starchy and tend to stick together (you’ve seen it when making spaghetti, and letting the noodles set). However, the ramen still held a brilliant texture and when dipped into the broth, you get hit right in the mouth with a straight haymaker of spicy heat. Unfortunately, this dish was not perfect. The portion when compared to Mega Ton, was absolutely pathetic and felt like a side order. Also, I guess this is general for all ramen, why skimp on the meat? I mean really.. 2 pieces? I love to see my ramen come with a whole blanket of meat, but until that day, I can only sit here and rant.

Hide Chan Scores:
Food: 7.5/10 – The food was well prepared, but maybe I have a ramen bias and always think ramen is prepared well.

Restaurant Environment: 8/10 – I love being able to sit in the tiny tatami and enjoying great time with friends.

Service: 9/10 – Unfortunately, my friend waited by herself for half an hour, and I waited with her for another half an hour, the servers never threw a fit.

Value: 6/10 – Around $10 for the regular bowls of ramen, and $15 for the Mega Ton, seems a little more than average.

Overall: 7.5/10

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Soba-ya

After my 1 day adventure in Connecticut, it’s time to bring things back to New York City. I was feeling a bit under the weather so I decided to head over to East Village to grab some warm soba noodles at Soba-Ya.Luckily enough, my friend and I were able to get here early enough to nab a seat without having to wait. The traditional Japanese decor keeps me excited knowing that I’m in for a good bowl of soba. First up, was a Yuzu Infused Soy Cured Cod. The cod was oily yet light, and full of flavor. I always find it entertaining that something so simple is usually better than the complex fish dishes developed by the “Western” cultures. The Tempura Soba is your basic pairing of warm soba and Soba-Ya’s selection of tempura pieces: shrimp, shiso, and shishito. Since I needed a steaming bowl of Hot Soba, I ordered the Nishin, which has the addition of a Broiled Nishin Herring Fish. Personally, I found the fish a bit overwhelming and do prefer the cod. However, the funny thing is, the mellowness of the broth and noodles helped quell the intense fish flavor. The soba noodles are out of this world. Perfectly cooked, and a bit “al-dente.”

Soba-Ya Scores:
Food: 8.5/10 – I’m just a sucker for Japanese food, especially soba. If a place can do a good cod, I’ll be there.

Restaurant Environment: 7/10 – Although I do enjoy your everyday traditional Japanese decor, that’s exactly what it is, everyday and a bit overused.

Service: 7.5/10 – They were always attentive and eager to help, but I couldn’t help but feel being rushed so they can get a quicker turn around.

Value: 6.5/10 – Not the cheapest noodles in the world, $20 for the herring soba?

Overall: 7.5/10

Bonus:After your delicious meal at Soba-ya, head next door to Cha-an and grab some delicious Black Sesame Creme Brulee, and a delicious cup of your favorite tea. The one pictured just so happened to be a smooth darjeeling.

Ippudo

After the uncalled for Japanese culture bashing that occurred in the last post, I’m going to about face and show you why I love the land of the rising sun. The beloved entrance that is usually packed with hungry eager diners waiting hours just to grab a bowl of warm decadent ramen. Funny thing, the other day I asked some people from Nebraska if they would like to eat at a ramen restaurant. Surprisingly, I got a blank and empty stare back, “what do you mean ramen? you mean the instant kind?” I was just shocked. (BTW, they weren’t very open to the idea of quality ramen, and opted to grab burgers and corned beef hash from an Irish bar).

It just reminds me what Anthony Bourdain had to say about American Tourists:

“Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.”

Be a traveler, not a tourist.

And now, a gratuitous Hirata Pork Bun montage.

Now if only these $4 bad boys hit a recession and dropped to a buck. Oh the possibilities. Tiny hand held bites of heaven that I thought was only reserved to Bagel Bites on a nice afternoon of television watching after school. I’m salivating just thinking about these bodacious buns. Ippudo’s ability to always offer something new by changing their menu every season, and offer daily “special ramen”  like the one pictured above, keeps me on my toes and longing to return. Back to the special ramen, a tonkotsu soup with special blended hot spices, with pork chasu, kikurage, onion, ground pork and scallions, along with my added touch of corn. Abso-freaking-lutely delicious.

The next couple of photos were taken on other trips to Ippudo. I guess it shows that not once have I been disappointed with the food. Spicy Cod Roe Over RiceAnother bowl of delicious ramen.The Shishito peppers at Ippudo can probably be considered by favorite side of all time.

I’ll see you guys later, I have to make it to Ippudo before that line starts to grow.

Ippudo Scores:
Food: 9/10 – They excel at everything they do, and I’m one to appreciate it.

Restaurant Environment: 6/10 – Great ambience, but hate the wait.

Service: 8/10 – I swear they have a designated water filler.

Value: 7/10 – In the words of McDonalds, I wish I could be a dollar-menuaire for Hirata Buns at Ippudo

Overall: 8/10

Katsuhama

I contemplated really hard on whether or not to feature Katsuhama in my blog, but I think it is my civil duty to inform the public about terrible restaurants.Entrance to the hell hole to the location in Midtown East. Supposedly, the one on the west side is head and shoulders better.The menu looked promising with Japanese comfort food, however this would be the highest point of the night, sadly. Funny thing, I thought they had great service since they were not pressuring us to order since a member of our party had yet to arrive. What juvenile thinking. After my friend had arrived, it took us about half a day to place our order after many futile attempts to get our waitresses’ attention.My friend and I had placed an order of Croquettes to share (which should come with 3), when we received the order we were a bit perplexed that there were only 2. We asked another waiter why it came with 2, when the menu clearly stated 3. He told us that it was the crab croquettes and not the vegetable croquettes, and brought the dish back to the kitchen. I then proceeded to hear our waitress say that we ordered “croquettes” and didn’t specify what we wanted. HA! Take a look at the menu genius, the menu says “Croquettes” (which were the vegetable ones I ordered) and “Cream Croquettes” (which were the crab ones I received). Next time, please don’t blame the customer for your own negligence. Thanks.Already dissatisfied, the rest of the food was a tasteless blur. The Chikuwa Ippon Age was a fried fish cake filled with cheese. A delicious idea, since everything tastes better with that ooey gooey unctuous cheese whiz.Disgusting Miso, Next.This restaurant just keeps getting better. Going on their website, they advertise that they are “The Only Tonkatsu Restaurant in New York.” Are you kidding me? The reason why you might be the only Tonkatsu restaurant is because your disgusting dish, that you try to pass off as Japanese food instills great fear into the American people. I would make a World War II reference, but that would just be uncalled for.

I would like to apologize for my hostility against the Japanese culture, I’ve been watching The Pacific on HBO. Great show by the way.After months of eagerly waiting, I received my revolting croquettes. Hurray! The three consisted of a pumpkin, a vegetable, and a curry potato. Forget the croquettes I say, just eat the slaw that it comes with. Pour on the sesame dressing and you have your best meal of the night. Some katsu that my friend ordered in their preset dinner meal, it was probably mediocre at best as well.I love potato salad, but I do not like the one at Katsuhama. I’d rather have Albertsons brand potato salad.Pre-made Caramel Cheesecake. Bleh. However, the Green Tea Ice Cream with some mix-ins of Red Bean Ice Cream was joyful, but that’s because I’m always excited to have ice cream.

Katsuhama Scores:
Food: 2/10 – There’s a lot better, stay in St. Marks.

Restaurant Environment: 1.5/10 – Wasn’t absolute trash, but pretty damn close.

Service: 0/10 – Service was absent, so their score is as well.

Value: 1/10 – You’d have to pay me to come back.

Overall: 1/10

Kyotofu

Why do I love Japanese cuisine so much? Maybe after New York, I should find a job in Tokyo. I’m even listening to the Nujabes’ Mellow Beats, Friends and Lovers CD while writing this entry (awesome CD btw). Anyways, I’ll make do with what I have in New York for now.

A couple of friends and I had decided to go to Kyotofu in Hell’s Kitchen for dinner before catching a movie. The facade of the actual restaurant is very low key, with no clear signage. However, walking in, you get a sense of the place being your average New York coffee shop/bakery and not actually a restaurant. We showed up around 6pm on Friday night without any reservations and were promptly seated in their minimalistic contemporary dining area behind the kitchen.
I guess the chef was surprised that I was taking pictures, gotcha!I would like to take everyone on an amazing 13-course journey that I had at Kyotofu. Even though I don’t really know if they’re considered courses or tapas, but for the sake of awesomeness I’m declaring that they be known as courses.Kyotofu offers an Otsumani Sampler, which you may choose 4,6, or 8 items from a list of 8 at $4 per dish. Of course me being me, I chose all 8 of them.

Soon after snapping that shot, the hostess had decided to dim the lights of the dining area making a more intimate scene. Appropriate since it was Valentines Day weekend, but terrible news for somebody that’s there to just document and take pictures of food. This sparked me to do something that I have never done before. I had asked the hostess if I could bring my food out to the bar area to take pictures in the lighted area. She kindly obliged and even turned the lights brighter! What mind-blowing service. It was also embarrassing being at the bar area, when groups of diners walk in and see you taking pictures of your food and then running off to go eat it.

Oh well, the life of a food blogger. Back to the food.

Maybe it’s just a natural impulse to start with the salad, because that’s exactly what I did. Their salad consisted of a combination of Shimeji and Shiitake Mushrooms over a bed of Arugula, topped with shaved Parmesan. The rich arugula taste was balanced with the mellow taste from the warm mushrooms and tied together with a subtle vinaigrette.  Was it worth the $4 price tag per dish, probably not. Is it just me, or when you see a dish like this, you automatically think IKEA SWEDISH MEATBALLS! Weirdly, I was actually disappointed that it didn’t remotely taste like the meatballs at Ikea. The Spicy Tsukune (Chicken Meatballs) were actually topped with a Yuzu Pepper Sauce (not gravy) and paired with a Kyuri Cucumber (not lingonberry). To be honest, it tasted like the meatballs you buy in a giant bag at your local supermarket topped with the peanut sauce you eat satay’s with. I might just go to Ikea this weekend and try to grab an early bird special. Continuing on, you discover what seem to be poorly wrapped Nigiri sushi, and you’d be right. The Red Snapper Nigiri were pieces of House Cured Red Snapper wrapping a Citrus Dill Rice. The non-sushi brown rice was a nice effort, but the unfamiliarity of the dish made it seem like it was just fish over rice. Yay Cheese! I absolutely love cheese samplers! Overall they had a great assortment of cheeses to be combined with their fruit jelly and green tea cracker. However, there was one cheese that had such a sharp ammonium taste to it that it was near inedible, I thought I was ingesting poison. I guess that’s cheese for you though. Now we’re getting to the good stuff. One of the highlight dishes in the entire meal was the Arancini. This round croquette sphere was filled with a mild Japanese Curry Risotto and Mozzarella. This ball was shockingly good. The concept is simple yet Kyotofu managed to transform it into something great. Well done. Next up for the heavy hitters was ironically a mini slider. The Chicken and Tofu Sliders are Teriyaki Grilled with Shiso in a Brioche Bun with a heavy dose of Cilantro and a slice of Cucumber served with Homemade Chips. The burger was definitely something different, it had the taste and textural makeup of a Banh Mi sandwich with the cucumber and cilantro. A welcome clean break from your usually unctuous burgers.I ate all 3 of these bad boys in a single bite each. I usually don’t eat Unagi (eel), but the Barbecued Unagi provided extra flavor and textural support that brought the dish together. The rolls are wrapped in Phyllo Dough with Sansho Peppers. Imagine the BBQ Pork rolls that you get at Dim Sum on Sunday Morning, but with a twist. A lighter aerier dough and a sharp seafood element create a more divine dish. No, they’re not just pigs in a blanket, they’re classier than that. They’re known as Pigs in a Duvet. The delectable Berkshire Pork Sausages are wrapped in fluffy puff pastry and paired with a marvelous Spicy Mustard. These things are something I can eat on a daily basis. I remember wrapping Hebrew National hot dogs in Pillsbury Croissant Triangles and sitting in front of a TV with a large bottle of ketchup as one of my favorite pastimes. This is just that, but upgraded.

Finally, I’m going to let you guys take a short break from all that food. Because we still have dessert coming up!

Yes, after all that, it didn’t take me long to know that I wanted to order the Kaiseki Prix Fixe, which was a chef’s 3 course dessert tasting. After all, Kyotofu was known for their desserts so I just had to try. Also, instead of embarrassing myself and taking all the dishes out to take pictures (because there was a noticeable amount of people waiting outside for tables) I just opted to use the good ‘ol flash.The picture does not do the dish justice whatsoever. This was Kyotofu’s renown Signature Sweet Tofu. Under that layer of Kuromitsu Black Sugar Syrup was a silky semi-sweet tofu with a piece of White Sesame Tuile and topped with a piece of Dried Apricot. The syrup was to die for, I even tried to lick every drop that was left in that oblong serving dishWhat a surprise! The second part of the prix fixe actually came with 3 separate dishes. BONUS DISHES! Let’s start from top to bottom. A Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Framboise and assorted berries. I’m actually not a huge fan of raspberry, so the framboise did kill it for me a bit. However, if it had been strawberry, I could only dare to dream.

The middle dish was actually the worst out of the 3 (although it looked the best). Your average Warm Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream in a peanut-ish sauce. Yawn. It wasn’t even a molten cake!

Finally, surprisingly the best dessert. A Matcha (Green Tea) Creme Brulee. One word. Perfection. One of the best desserts I’ve had of all time. Everything just seemed to marry well together. Darn you Kyotofu for only serving it in a small Illy Coffee espresso glass. I want more! Roar!Finally, we ended our long ordeal with one of Kyotofu’s Soymilk Soft Ice Cream, but why were we doomed with the worst flavor? Rose Vanilla Bean. Sound’s pretty right? Yet it tastes like your grandmother’s lotion. Every bite just seemed liked I was pouring a bottle of Rose scented lotion into my mouth. After a while you get past the tremendously strong rose taste, and it actually wasn’t too bad, but I’ll never get it again.Hooray for free Chocolate Brownie Bites before you leave!

Kyotofu Scores:
Food: 7.5/10 – The food pushes the boundaries of normal cuisine, however it’s not all positive.

Restaurant Environment: 8/10 – Get past the quintessential coffee shop/bakery facade and enjoy the unique Chikalicious-esque dessert experience.

Service: 8.5/10 – The food came out a bit slow, and they were a little understaffed, but big points for helping me make this entry possible.

Value: 6/10 – I don’t really know how to view this. If you think about it as a 13 course meal for around $50, then you got your moneys worth, but it really wasn’t.

Overall: 7/10

Yakitori Taisho

After watching a rerun of Bourdain’s No Reservations: Tokyo, I suddenly developed an immense craving for yakitori. Thank goodness for Yakitori Taisho.My friend and I waited a good 20-30 minutes before we were seated at the bar in this minuscule joint. However, after being seated, you actually get a sense that you were transported to Japan and were scarfing down yakitori skewers in the heart of Tokyo. Traveling half way across the world with just 1 swipe of your MetroCard. It’s a great feeling.We started off with an order of Okonomiyaki, which is a Japanese pancake with squid, shrimp and pork doused with okonomiyaki sauce and mayo (the yummy Japanese kind) then topped with bonito flakes and aonori. The first couple of bites were wonderful, but as it went on, it felt like a chore. The heaviness and thickness of the sauce and mayo starts to get to you. When we finally reached the middle, which had all the delicious good parts, we had already grown sick of the okonomiyaki.  Next came an order of Grilled Miso Salmon. I prefer the stronger taste of cod, but this will have to do. The salmon was still pretty yummy, especially the charred salmon skin. Add a little squirt of lemon and a dollop of the daikon and you’re good to go. Oh my goodness… look at that cornucopia of awesomeness. Where to begin? This behemoth plate of heaven consists of an order of Yakitori Taisho’s A special and B special. The A special is a chicken lover’s dream. And by chicken lover, you better damn near love a chicken to eat chicken uterus. Ok, I’m just kidding, there’s no chicken uterus, but the special does contain a double serving of chicken, chicken skin, chicken gizzard, chicken meat ball, and pork. Yummm.. I feel like Andrew Zimmern. The B special consists of a more conservative fare, chicken, chicken meat balls, scallion, shrimp and beef. Boring Boring Boring, but delicious. 

The shrimp at Taisho is not bad, but the damn shell of the shrimp is near impossible to peel off. Isn’t yakitori supposed to be quick? I don’t feel like spending my whole time peeling shrimp. What’s that on the right you might ask yourself. Steak?Gyutan! aka Grilled Beef Tongue. Once you get past the fact that you’re almost making out with a cow, cow tongue is one of the most amazing things in the world. The odd texture keeps you baffled until the very next bite. Is it chewy? Is it tender? Is it tough? What is it? Well let me tell you, it’s delicious, that’s what it is.Back to the lovely chicken. On the left, you have your more traditional chicken skewer, on the right you have a grilled chicken gizzard. To be honest, it was actually pretty good. The gizzard has a rougher and tougher texture than regular chicken meat and also has a stronger and more bitter flavor.

Yakitori Taisho Scores:
Food: 7/10 – The yakitori did end up satiating my craving, but unfortunately the okonomiyaki did not.

Restaurant Environment: 8/10 – Although I don’t really physically fit in the size of the restaurant, the mental vacation to Tokyo was a delight

Service: 7.5/10 – The food was brought out quickly, but we could barely fit it on the little space we had. Thanks for just staring at us while we struggle.

Value: 8/10 – A buck for just about anything but a cluck.

Overall: 7.5/10

EN Japanese Brasserie

How about we take a break from the west coast and swing it back east? Lucky for me, restaurant week was going on in New York.

Checking out the restaurants that were partaking in this season’s restaurant week, only 2 restaurants had piqued my interest. Cafe Boulud, which filled all of its reservations on the first day, and EN Japanese Brasserie. After hearing great reviews and how the tofu at EN was considered the best new dish of 2009, I just had to join my friends who managed to snag a reservation. I snapped a couple of quick pictures while I waited for my friends outside in the sub 10° Fahrenheit weather. They sure do like to stamp their logo everywhere. The restaurant’s design is breathtaking. A cool and modern theme, that is warmed with classic Japanese accents. After soaking in the environment, you’ll find the menu is tied to an easel-like board which lists your dining options (Don’t forget there’s a back page, it took us about half an hour to figure that out). Glancing over the menu, I really wanted to select the Kaede, which is a 7-course tasting that costs a reasonable $65. Who am I kidding, I can get that anytime, I’m here for the restaurant week 5-course tasting. While waiting for the rest of the party to arrive, I ordered an Otsukare, which was a House infused Vanilla Bean Yamazaki Whiskey with Japanese Black Sugar and Fresh Mint. It sounded better than it tasted. I’m not an alcohol connoisseur, but after having the splendid Yamazaki Whiskey at Minetta Tavern, I was less than impressed with the one at EN. Maybe I should have been a girl and ordered the Green Tea Martini. Damn my male ego. Soon after, my friends started to filter in and we placed our order.Out comes the first portion of the menu, and look who it is. The freshly made (every hour) warm tofu with wari-joyu topped with thinly sliced green onions. I was extremely disappointed at the portion size, basically only an ice cream scoop portion, but the small amount of tofu itself was amazing. The warm silky tofu paired with the delectable wari-joyu dashi was unlike any tofu I’ve ever had before. Being that it’s freshly made, the tofu was resilient enough to hold its shape, but upon taking a bite, breaks down into a smooth thick soup-like matter that slips down the back of your mouth. The green onions also provided a refreshing snap in between bites. We’re off to a great start.The second portion of the meal consists of the chef’s selection of 2 kyoto-style appetizers. The first (left) being sliced daikon and inari (sweet fried tofu) simmered in a dashi broth. The second (right) was their Hijiki which was hijiki seaweed and soy bean simmered in dashi and shoyu. I understand that restaurant week is an affordable representation of what the restaurant has to offer, but the daikon dish was terrible, completely flavorless and not even seasoned. This made the seaweed dish head and shoulders the best portion of the dish, but that’s not saying much. The chef who selected these appetizers should be exiled back to Kyoto to learn how to make a proper dish. A giant step back.Finally, something I can enjoy. Right? The Washugyu Yaki Shabu’s ostentatious presentation was probably the best thing going for it. Now it might be my fault, for not immediately eating the steak and spending the passing time photographing and waiting for the other dishes to arrive. But then again, why would you serve this to me first, while I have to politely wait for the rest of my table’s entrees to arrive. The steak was served with a ponzu citrus soy sauce and salt on the side, both of which were pointless. Dipping the steak into either only caused the meat to be over-salty and inedible. Kobe rib-eye? Far from it. The steak was extremely tough and sinewy, I’ve had better at Black Angus. Worst thing is, this was a $10 supplement. You’d have to pay me $10 to order this again.Lucky for me though, I had 2 entrees. The Saikyo Miso Grilled Black Cod was nothing out of the ordinary and tasted just like every other Miso Cod out there. However, I did prefer it over the disgusting rib-eye, which I’m still bitter about to this day. On a random note, I’ve always loved the pairing of black cod with daikon. OK, I lied, I’m a fatass that ended up having 3 entrees. I ordered the Sea bass Kara-age separately since it was not part of the restaurant week menu. Boy am I glad that I did. The sea bass was by far the best entree out of the three. Simply marinated in a sake and lightly fried, brought out the full sea bass flavor. I could eat these delicious little medallions everyday of the week.

But still, at this point, I was not only extremely disappointed in ENJB’s food, but their service as well. They had misplaced my order of Kobe Sushi for Uni Sushi, while insisting that I had ordered the Uni. Tsk tsk, not going well, not going well at all. Let’s continue on with ENJB’s circus of crap. First off, let’s start with those carrots you see right there. Completely inedible. Are they pickling their vegetables with formaldehyde? They would’ve been better off serving Gerbers’ Carrot Mash. Now that star they call Onigiri. Congratulations on serving sushi rice with a little bit of soy sauce, green onions, and sesame seed and then cutting it with your holiday cutter. Next time, serve it to me warm, not cold. I couldn’t even use this rice to eat my steak with. I’m just about ready to leave. At this point, I was absolutely disheartened over the entire meal. Until I found this little covered bowl of Miso Soup. It may be simple, It may be plain, but boy was it a beacon of hope. The EN Miso Soup had a very delicate flavor and contained tiny morsels of their outstanding tofu. I slurped up the entire bowl of soup with a giant smile on my face. Things were starting to look a little more promising. Finally, my stubborn waiter decided to bring my slice of Kobe Sushi. I knew from past experience to stay away from anything that was a carrot or was in a shape of a star. Behold! A star shaped carrot! I will not fall into that trap, just give me the sushi. The flash seared piece of Kobe (hopefully) is served with a burnt garlic chip. I devoured this bad boy in one giant bite (I tried to bite in half, but failed miserably). “This doesn’t compare to the one served at Morimoto” I told myself in my head. Although it was delicious and heavenly, the Kobe Sushi at Morimoto had a more lasting impression (it’s also cheaper at $8/piece compared to EN’s $10/piece).  Yes, that tiny morsel was $10 (almost as outrageous as the $10 supplement), something I’ll never pay again. Finally, we finish our ordeal with my favorite. Ice cream. It’s not a bad ice cream either, a Cinnamon Pumpkin Ice Cream with the nostalgic bite of Pumpkin Pie in every bite. You can also tell that it’s a Japanese ice cream with its rich, creamy, smooth, full body texture and taste. At least I got to leave the table with a smile.

EN Japanese Brasserie Scores:
Food: 6/10 – Maybe it was the high expectations I had for EN, but too many dark moments overshadowed the bright ones.

Restaurant Environment: 8.5/10 – A gorgeous restaurant, If only its food could do it justice.

Service: 7/10 – This score would’ve been a lot lower if it wasn’t for the extremely cute hostess that tried to mend all the mistakes.

Value: 4.5/10 – The cost is not appropriate for the portion size, but I didn’t leave feeling like I was in the middle of the Great Depression.

Overall: 6.5/10 – Would I come here again? Maybe. But that’s only because the pretty hostess promised me a better meal.