A beautifully designed space just might not be a good thing all of the time. At EN Japanese Brasserie The high ceiling, open kitchen, comforting earthy colors and textures, complete with servers in Japanese garb set up an expectation for me that just was not met.

We took suggestions from articles/reviews and their own website and ordered the warm hand scooped tofu and the potato and duck mochi as 2 of our appetizers. The tofu was so disappointing. It was fresh but very bland and the texture was just average at best. The mochi was probably my favorite savory item of the night. One, it was something unique. It was a savory mochi (most are sweet) with the added textures of potato and bits of ground duck, sitting in a very flavorful thickened broth. The flavor of the duck doesn’t come out though…could’ve been any meat.

We also ordered 2 other appetizers: shrimp fritters and fried chicken. Both were good but nothing special. Shrimp fritters were just like the ones I get at dim sum. You can’t really go wrong with fried chicken as long as it comes out hot, which it did. All the appetizers were good portion sizes so by the end of the appetizers I was not impressed but not too upset either.

On to main courses, I got the “highly recommended” braised Berkshire pork belly. This was the biggest disappointment! First of all, it tastes just like the Chinese style braised pork belly that every Chinese mom makes at home (you guys know what I’m talking about)but not as good. Second, it was an appetizer portion, 3 little cubes with 2 pieces of daikon and 2 leaves of spinach. AND, to accentuate the child-sized portion, it’s swimming in a sea of sweet broth in a gigantic family sized salad bowl that I could probably sit in.

Lon ordered one of the specials, a whole perch in a sweet soy sauce broth. Again, nothing exciting in terms of the flavors but the fish was fresh and a good size. Here’s where a problem comes in though. The fish didn’t come with any vegetables or starch. I’m fine with family style Chinese restaurants where you order protein and/or vegetable dishes separately from rice or noodles but there was nothing on the menu to indicate that you were supposed to order in that way. The waitress didn’t suggest it either. More than half way through the meal, we just ordered rice, realizing that there was something missing from our meal and now that I think of it, the 2 leaves of spinach (barely garnishing my dish) were the only vegetables that we (table of 4 people) ate.

Their redeeming moment comes with the dessert, especially because lately desserts have not been memorable. Lon ordered a molten chocolate cake with green tea ice cream. Nothing new but they do it well. I ordered the soba tea pudding almost purely because I have never heard of it before. It was SO GOOD! I liked it because it was smooth and creamy with a really strong tea syrup but not very sweet. Sal had some vanilla ice cream on top of mashed sweet potatoes and Rochelle had 3 house-made ice creams: pumpkin, white sesame, and forgot the last one but they were all good.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this restaurant but it was less expensive than I had expected so if you still want to give it a try….I also felt like everything was really Chinese food except for the mochi and the desserts so this is not the place to go if you’re looking for Japanese food.

posted by jessica at 11:30 AM Filed under Fusion or Mixed, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.