Dear Food Diary:
EN Japanese Brasserie has always been top of my list, love their asian inspired cocktails, homemade tofu, and the concept of dishes tapas style (great beef tataki, pork and uni dishes). They have one of the best miso cod in the city. So when Zagat sent an email about Taste of Japanese Premium Beef Event at EN, the carnivore in me just couldn’t resist, I knew I was in for a red meat feast, 7 courses for $85.
Started the meal off with an EN original SEPPUN which was like an asian mojito, with shochu instead of rum, grapefruit and yuzu as the citrus and muddled shiso leaves in place of mint. Very refreshing and fragrant, really really yummy. There was a sake pairing for for an extra $50, but I didn’t want to drink too much.
The master butcher himself Elichi Yamamoto gave a brief introduction of the featured Japanese Premium Beef Inc famous Washugyu beef (Kobe imported from Japan and cross breed with Black Angus in Oregon, using strictly Japanese techniques), and it all began:
First Course: Rib Eye Tartare
With a wasabi tobiko, mitsuba (a japanese wild parsley), tokyo negi (green onions), wari dashi (traditional japanese soup stock). The beef was tender, well seasoned, a hint of sesame oil, pops of the wasabi tobiko, good onion flavors, one of the more outstading beef tartare I’ve ever had.
Second Course: Shabu Shabu Salad
Around the table we debated if the lettuce would go into the soup (chinese style) or wrap the beef in lettuce (korean style), the latter was correct, hence “salad”. There were thinly sliced rib eye, flat iron and chuck roll. I could of done with out the lettuce, but it added a nice crisp crunch. The soup base had Shungiku (chinese chrysanthemum), and the bowl holding the broth was actually made with a fire proof paper, impressive. Beef was super tender, like butta’ and dipped in a Goma Yuzu (citrus sesame sauce), another great dish.
Third Course: Filet Katsu
This was the master butchers favorite, a lightly breaded & fried filet mignon, I can see why, after tasting it, how could anyone ever go back to Tonkatsu, sorry piggies, this one is another level up. Pink, just the way I like if, the lotus chips didn’t impress me, I’ve had better at Kyotofu. But the 3 salts (yuzu, sea, smoked) were interesting, I personally loved the Yuzu salt (a burst of freshness, very light), didn’t care for the sea, and the smoked overpowered the beef, so I only used a couple grains. The beef was good in itself, even without salt.
Forth Course: Beef Cheek Braised in Red Miso
This was my least favorite dish of the night, it was good, but i felt the sauce took over the lead role and the beef flavor was hidden. It was so tender you could break it with your chopsticks, but I wasn’t impressed with this one, although the soy boiled quail egg was a yummy bite and I liked the tender daikon and burdock root (taste similar to ginseng).
Fifth Course: Stone Grilled Rib Eye & Flat Iron
At this point of the meal this was my favorite course. I like the simplicity of just being able to taste the beef itself, the stone was fun and using Beef Fat added extra flavor indeed, like the good old days, as my parents put it, when everything was cooked in lard, things just tasted better, we’re not talking about health here, just flavor wise. The veggies were cute, baby turnip, an okra and brussel sprout, but I didn’t care for. Back to the beef, which was melt in your mouth, I couldn’t help but smile, hmmmmm… The ponzu and yuzu sauce was good, but with meat this outstanding, there was no need for sauce in my opinion.
Just when I though things couldn’t get any better, I get the best surprise of the night:
Sixth Course: Short Rib Sushi
Ahhhh… heavenly. This is the kind of thing my palate dreams about. Right proportion of rice, one of them was brushed with Garlic Soy, very lightly, which enhanced the beef flavor, the other one had Tosa Joyu (soy based dipping sauce). The marbled beef just broke apart in my mouth, I had a moment here, I left my seat and was transported to Japan, this reminded me of all the superb meals I had in Tokyo.
As if that wasn’t enough, it was time for a sweet ending:
Seventh Course: Milk Pudding
So smooth and milky, I just wanted to keep holding on the the bowl, perfectly sweetened by a brown sugar/plum syrup. Every spoonful was yummy goodness. I wanted more, but I was also very very full.
Here’s the Chef of cuisine Abe Hiroki, the man behind all these dishes, applause all around the room, if I had 2 tongue, it would be applauding too, but that would be scary. This was an amazing evening, worth my every hard earned penny.
A special shout out to Laura, Ben and Victor, our table-mates. We were the only table with 3 parties put together, sorta chinatown style. At first my friends and I felt a bit awkward, since this ain’t no chinatown, but as we started to chit chat, these 3 were the friendliest foodies around, in between our courses, the focus was around places and food we’ve tried, been to and have to try. Victor’s been everywhere, to every food event, and Laura and Ben described a french toast as if it were their child, it was great meeting them. Everyone whipped out their camera! yay! Our foodies table rocked.
P.S. Chubby’s RATING:
You can get the beef at home:
Japanese Premium Beef
57 Great Jones St