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
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)
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. ♥
If you’ve been to Scarpetta and tried Scott Conant’s food, you’re going to want to try his new restaurant opening next week in the Cooper Square Hotel – Faustina!
Promised to have the same modern and simple ambiance and (more importantly) the same delicious Italian dishes as Scott’s other restaurants. Faustina is named after the Roman empress whose monument is the only building inside the Roman Forum dedicated to a woman. The restaurant reflects chef Scott Conant’s simple, soulful approach to Italian cuisine coupled with his knack for pairing the casual with the refined.
They’re already accepting reservations on OpenTable – but expect to be angled more toward the 6:30 or 9:30 time slots. It’s Scott Conant…what do you expect?!?!?
I’ll be trying Faustina with my husband – Scarpetta is his favorite Italian restaurant in NYC – which is not an easy accomplishment… ♥
I hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend with Martin Luther King Jr. Day! This was the first time that my company has given us the day off, which created such a gratitude from all of the employees that I wonder if maybe there was some method to their madness… :I
I enjoyed filling my long weekend with errands, activities and social outings. One dinner that I especially enjoyed was with my good friend at Fig & Olive. We wanted to eat in Meatpacking because my hubby and my friend’s partner were having a business dinner together with a client at Scarpetta. We knew we would end up meeting up with them post-dinner, so we figured we save ourselves a cab and dine nearby (sadly, we couldn’t eat at another table at Scarpetta 🙂 )
Fig & Olive was not a disappointment, though! We didn’t make a reservation, but we were still able to be seated right away at one of the high tables in the windows – just as nice and less crowded than the dining room. The ambiance was nice – good lighting, lively music, nice crowd, good service.
Most importantly, our food was delicious. We tried different starters – I had ceviche while my friend had cheese & prosciutto. We both had the branzino as an entree with figs and a balsamic reduction…soooo good!
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised and will be returning… ♥
420 West 13th Street
Between Ninth Ave.
& Washington St.