On Friday evening, after a beautiful day around the city (lunch at Soho House, walking the piers in Battery Park, cocktails at 202), a group of us went to EN Japanese Brasserie for a late dinner. There were 7 of us without a reservation, so we sat at the communal table in the bar area, which was perfect! We ordered a massive amount of sushi, sashimi, homemade tofu, edamame (soaked in dashi – delicious!), and various other small dishes – and we were all VERY happy with everythign! It was truly one of my favorite Japanese restaurants that I have been to in awhile…
The experience is that of a traditional Japanese restaurant in a beautiful, authentic space in the West Village of Manhattan. EN is a modern izakaya, a relaxed style of dining that centers on a procession of tapas-style small plates. Like in Japan, they cook with the seasons, and savor the peak flavor of ingredients.
EN adheres to the fundamentals of Japanese cooking: respecting the ingredients and their natural flavors, cooking in the moment, and not doing too much. The menu includes fresh tofu (prepared six times a night), saikyo miso black cod, stone grilled wagyu and a range of high quality sushi and sashimi. There is also a very welcome sake sommelier, Takahiro Okada, who has developed an extensive list of small-batch, artisanal sake and shochu to complement the dining experience.
After our dinner, we didn’t feel heavy or too full – we just felt very satisfied and as though we experienced a special piece of Japan. Even my husband loved EN, and he is one tough critic of Japanese restaurants…I am sure we’ll be making it a staple! ♥
435 Hudson Street (at leroy)
New York NY 10014
tel 212 647 9196
New York City seems to have a parade for nearly every holiday, and Easter is no exception. Unlike typical New York City parades, the Easter Bonnet Festival and Easter Parade is a less formal affair, with spectators and participants mingling along a car-free stretch of Fifth Avenue. This year’s parade takes place on Easter Sunday, and you’re sure see some very elaborate Easter bonnets and outfits that folks wear for the occasion. The area around St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the ideal place to see the parade. The Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
I think I may skip the parade and just dye some eggs instead! ♥
HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!
On Saturday night, after some delicious small plates at the bar in Faustina, my group wanted to find a nice spot to casually enjoy some good drinks and conversation. Being that we were on the Bowery, we tried Double Crown first, which was a huge mistake. The restaurant and bar were completely packed with a line formed INSIDE the restaurant to get into the back bar – awful idea for the comfort of the patrons trying to eat or get to the bathrooms. So, we left and my husband mentioned Temple Bar as a good option.
I had never been to Temple Bar, and I realized why I never noticed it when I saw the only sign was a small name plate sticking out from the side of Noho Star (see picture above). Once we entered, we were in a very prohibition-lounge vibe bar with red velvet and mahogany wood tables. It was full, but not so full that we weren’t able to find a table for six people. The drink menu was great (including SAKETINIS) and they brought out popcorn with dried beets and carrots mixed in – very nice!
The only downfalls were our waitress and the mojito that one of my friends ordered. The waitress had an odd attitude about the waters we wanted in addition to our beverages and the fact that one of our friends only wanted a club soda – not good. The mojito that my friend received was more like a soup of limes and mint leaves – it was not drinkable.
We still found ourselves having a good experience – we couldn’t have asked for a better location to feel like we were free to enjoy our company as opposed to being force-fed some ‘experience’ that the venue is trying to accomplish. ♥
332 Lafayette Street
(between Houston and Bleecker Streets)
I am very excited to be going to 15 East this evening for a birthday dinner. I love Japanese and especially good sashimi. I rarely get it because my husband hates anything raw. Thankfully, he’s recently caught on to the fact that he likes sushi that is cooked – panko shrimp being his favorite. So, I was able to con him into thinking he’ll be just fine this evening.
15 East feels rare and exotic with its small size and stark decor – I guess you could say it actually feels Japanese! The chef, Masato Shimizu, is a very talented sushi chef. He cures his own gari (ginger) and produces high-class, simple sushi in the classic Japanese style. There are no tricked-out maki rolls with kiwi or kobe beef on his menu, but what the chef does do is let the quality ingredients shine. You can get seven varieties of silver fish on the à la carte menu.
Finally, I will have myself a lot of sushi and sashimi this evening – I’m just hoping that there is SOMETHING cooked on the menu for my hubby…and maybe even some fancy Japanese birthday dessert for our best friend…♥
15 East 15th Street
On Friday, I went to August with my husband, in-laws, and another couple. We wanted to be the in the West Village, and I had always heard good things about August so I decided to give it a try. Sadly, it was disappointing and I was frustrated that I had taken the risk…
We had a reservation for 6 people on a Friday night, which is definitely a feat. We were seating right away, but my mother-in-law sat down on a soaking wet cushion…embarrassing. We had to pile 20 napkins under her to try to keep her skirt from getting even wetter – the waitress didn’t have any other solution.
We all thought the menu sounded appetizing, and we ordered quite a variety to cover all of the different flavors. We received our first courses, and they were all fine, but my pickled vegetables were so spicy from jalapeno peppers that I wanted to shove an entire loaf of bread in my mouth after finishing – not pleasant. We waited about 20 minutes before our waitress brought us all a bowl of mushroom soup because our entrees were taking too long. Now…that may seem like a nice gesture, but I hate soup and I just wanted my entree – we all felt pressured to appreciate the complimentary soup.
Finally, our entrees came, and a few of us preferred the mushroom soup! haha. My fish was good, but no one was really impressed. The service was slow, the menu limited, the seat wet, and our food wasn’t anything special…I doubt I’ll ever be back…I’ll stick to enjoying the month of August instead. ♥
Yesterday was my husband’s birthday. Even though I planned a party last Friday for him, I couldn’t leave his actual birthday without some fun and surprises! So, I planned to meet up with his two best friends (they all moved from Milan to NYC together – childhood friends). My husband was suspicious when I met up with him because I was being strange with my excitement, but he couldn’t have been happier with how his birthday evening went.
We went to Soho House to get a drink together and waited (him not knowing that we were waiting) for his friends and their girlfriends to meet us. When they showed up, after all of the hugs and kisses and excitement, we toasted with some champagne. We only stayed there for about an hour and then we headed over to Scarpetta for our dinner reservation.
This portion of the evening was full of delicious Italian dishes, amazing red wine, complimentary prosecco, sweets, laughter and fun. I honestly have never had a disappointing meal at Scarpetta and my husband loves Scott Conant’s cooking. To have three Italian men as happy as they were last night shows that Scott is doing the Italian thing right.
After dinner, we wanted to meet up with another friend somewhere closer to home. So, we headed to Pete’s Tavern for one last toast before heading home. A great birthday for mi amore ♥
Last Friday, I threw a birthday happy hour for my husband. He didn’t want anything too intense since I have planned quite the array of parties over the years for him – surprises, bands, hidden bars, dinner on the 44th floor of a building…this time, he just wanted to enjoy a low key time with his friends. I tried lots of bars – looking for the perfect spot for people to come and go, get drinks and food, and not have any fixed costs for the space or the number of people. It was tough, but the Tribeca Grand Hotel pulled through.
They were very generous with the space – they had a big corner saved for us with couches and bar access. We even had our own coat check. We were able to lounge, chat, drink and eat – and it ended up being one of our most successful birthday parties. He was able to enjoy all of his friends without any headaches. Even more impressively, I was able to enjoy myself without panicking about people not getting in, drinks not being paid for, or space being taken away.
There was even a DJ in our corner, which turned the area into a mini dance party at the end of the night.
The ONLY recommendation I could come up with for the Church Lounge is to turn the lights up a tad – it was VERY dark in there! We could barely see one another, and once we had developed night vision, going outside to the street lights was a shock… ♥