If you read our Friday Fives series at all, you’d think EN Japanese Brasserie is a hot new restaurant. Celebrities can’t stop talking about how much they love this place. EN is no newcomer though, nor is it the kind of restaurant we’d consider a hot spot anymore. EN Japanese Brasserie has been holding it down in the quiet southern part of the West Village for over a decade now. It’s one of those rare restaurants with incredible staying power.
There are few restaurant spaces in New York as spacious, sleek, and sprawling as EN, which, first and foremost, allows for a lot of versatility. You can do shoes-off, big group dining in one of the private rooms, or a romantic booth tucked in the back, or a low-key meal sitting at the counter overlooking the kitchen. You can have a multi-course tasting menu, cook washugyu short rib on a hot stone, or just come in for a quick bite of sushi. EN can be done in many different ways, and that’s certainly part of the appeal. It’s also big enough that you can pretty much always get in, too.
One thing to know about EN is that it’s authentic. It’s actually owned by a small Japanese-based restaurant group, and this is their only outpost outside of home base. EN pays homage to Japan by showcasing the cuisine top to bottom, with a little bit of everything. From hot pots to raw fish to crazy uni bowls to impressive cuts of beef to fantastic fried chicken to miso black cod, to their signature homemade tofu. They’ve been making haute tofu since before tofu was hot. But for a restaurant that dabbles in volume, their batting average is impressively high.
EN is a solid option to keep in the tool belt for a variety of occasions. There’s a reason why it’s remained relevant for over a decade. It’s consistent, reliable, and Perfect For pretty much anything.
*This menu is so freaking long, it’s impossible to do it justice in a food rundown. These are just some key dishes we often get, but you’ll be good going with whatever your server suggests. Let them guide you.
The only way to start off your meal at EN. Their tofu is made fresh, comes in a clay pot and can turn even non-tofu eaters into tofu eaters, if just for one night.
Tuna & Avocado Salad
Always one of our go-to’s. Simple. Straight forward. Delicious.
Miso Black Cod
Our litmus test for a Japanese restaurant is always the buttery miso black cod. EN’s is tremendous. We can never come here and not order it.
Chu Toro Sashimi
You definitely want some form of sashimi, any will do. The toro is never a bad move.
Snow Crab Tempura and Avocado Roll
EN is not necessarily a sushi restaurant, but, there are some special rolls on the menu. Get anything with snow crab and anything with uni. They roll those ingredients up really nicely.
Lobster on a stone in a butter sauce. Doesn’t get much sexier than that.
Crispy Fried Chicken
The fried chicken has always been one of EN’s calling cards. It’s mainly dark meat and comes deboned. This chicken’s got plenty of moisture and is also all kinds of crispy. Do it.
Kuroge Washugyu Yaki Shabu
AKA thin slices of Black Angus short rib served on a hot stone for grilling. Cooking together on a first date is always romantic.
Crazy Uni Rice Bowl Special
I don’t know what this was called, but it was worth all $49 or whatever this bucket of uni, rice, and salmon eggs costs. Wow. If you are an uni person, make sure you pay attention to whatever the warm bowls of stuff specials are.