Fresh Tofu, Shaké Teishoku, O-Banzai: EN Japanese Brasserie

Visit EN Japanese Brasserie during the day and sun streams though the open window, coming in from Leroy Street. This modern Japanese izakaya is busy in the evenings, but most beautiful during the day. It’s only then you can appreciate the near floor to ceiling windows, the quiet of the enormous space and private dining rooms, high ceilings and always gorgeous flower displays. French Press Coffee for Pierre, please.

And I’ll go with the Wood Dragon Oolong. I can’t imagine the enormous collection of tea pots and cups they must have stored in the kitchen!

Come for lunch on the weekends, it’s when they serve Shaké Teishoku, their take on the traditional Japanese Breakfast. On the bottom corner is salt-grilled Scottish salmon, move left to the chilled housemade tofu, then oshinko (housemade Asa-Zuké pickles), obanzai, nori, mizuna and watercress salad with ponzu dressing. And finally steamed white rice and housemade miso soup at the top. Not bad for $16. A balanced meal for sure, and always the perfect remedy when I’m feeling homesick for Hawai’i.

The most famous dish here is the fresh tofu served warm with wari joyu. It’s made on the hour every hour, and always fresh. I’ve written about this tofu on multiple occasions here, here, and here. Supple and warm, it’s by far the best housemade tofu in town (with Aburiya Kinnosuke coming in second). Sometimes I like to come here in the late afternoon/early dinner for *only* warm tofu and sake. Such a luxury!

A small selection of seven different O-Banzai is also offered at $5 dish. When you don’t feel like partaking in any of the larger courses, or even the tasting menu, just order warm tofu and three o-banzai to accompany. This is Shoyu-Braised Pork Belly and Lotus Root – always needs a bowl of warm rice to feel complete :) Also look out for Nasu Agebitashi, fried eggplant in dashi with a flurry of bonito flakes, and Ingen To Mushidori Goma Ae – string beans and steamed chicken with a nutty sesame dressing. And then relax and take the time you need, because it’s never full at lunch (or bunch), and they never rush a table. A favorite neighborhood spot? Yes, without a doubt :)

EN Japanese Brasserie
435 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 647-9196

  • anonymous
    September 29, 2011

    My mom ordered that salmon lunch set as well. Small portion, for us in the US. :PI adore their freshly made tofu as well. So silky, smooth, and just baby-butt soft, hee.You've a really nice job in order for you to sample foods around the city!

  • Kathy YL Chan
    September 29, 2011

    Hi Kim! Baby-butt soft is THE PERFECT way to describe that tofu! heheh. I don't make a ton, but I do believe in spending more for good food (and at the same time, cutting down costs on my other expenses…ehem clothing ;)

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