EN Part 2: A Modern Japanese Izakaya
Welcome back! If you're reading this, thank you!!!... because that means you liked EN Part 1 enough to read EN Part 2 :) Or, you're here randomly without reading Part 1 but thanks anyway! This post will be a continuation of some of the appetizers and a look into some of EN's specialty dishes.
To provide some background, EN is a super modern, izakaya restaurant. The ceilings are crazy tall (like 4 or 5 stacked LeBron James) and the restaurant is well-designed. There's a bar to the right of the entrance (next to the well-concealed bathroom).
EN has a huge selection of sake with a respectable number of them available by carafe (decanter) or glass. They also serve some of my favorite drinks ever, including Yamazaki (my baby), Hitachino (my lover), and the great Dassai 23 (my cure). The bar is called the Shochu Bar for a reason. Shochu is a spirit made with sweet potato, soba, barley, sugarcane, or sesame. Definitely worth a try! Overall, I recommend the flight of Junmai Daiginjo if you like strong, balanced sake. It's worth the price, I swear.
Above is their Chutoro Spicy Okaka. It's sushi made with Eastern Pacific Big Eye Marbled Tuna Belly with Mizuna, Thinly Sliced Onions, and Spicy Bonito Flakes. Yo. The Big Eye Tuna looks freaky. It's got eyes that violate all the other fishes in the sea. But, it tastes DELIGHTFUL. It's almost like a mix between Bluefin Tuna (Fatty and flavorful) and Yellowfin Tuna (Lean and less flavorful). Also, EN uses the chutoro cut of the tuna, which tends to be less fatty than otoro but fattier than akami. The mizuna (japanese mustard) and the onions gave the sushi a sharp, pungent flavor. Honestly, I didn't taste any spicy bonito flakes but the sushi was alright overall.
The next dish was a Broiled Alaskan Black Cod marinated in Saikyo Miso. This is prized by the Japanese for its amazing texture and flavor. The fish is also known as the butterfish for a good reason. It has one of the highest levels of nutritious omega-3 fatty acids, which gives it its rich, succulent flavor. There's a ton of flavors going on one after another. *Dramatic Effect* You get the buttery flavor from the fish, then the sweetness of the miso, then the savoriness of the charred skin. This is art you can taste. This was, by far, my favorite dish at EN.
The last thing I want to talk about is this Grade A5 Wagyu from Miyazaki, Japan. Grading consists of a Yield Grade ("A" on a scale of A-C) and a Quality Grade ("5" on a scale of 1-5). Yield Grade signifies the proportion of meat from a certain part of the cattle. Then, Quality Grade represents the marbling grade of the meat. A meat's quality of marbling is distinguished by the amount of intramuscular fat (also known as Sashi). EN served it medium-rare. Some pieces were more medium-rare than others but that's okay.
There were a few tough tendons and external fat that were not trimmed off. Nevertheless, the wagyu was so juicy and savory. All the flavors explode in your mouth. The first time you try this quality of beef, you'll feel a brief state of peace and enlightenment. This is a whole new level of beef. And, there are even higher levels of wagyu known as the "Top Three" (Kobe, Matsusaka, and Ohmi).