Back in July when Ken’s family came to visit, we dined at EN Japanese Brasserie in the west village. The restaurant features Japanese kaiseki-style dining (multiple courses, at EN Brasserie the dishes are made to share). The restaurant is known for many things, including their sake collection, their homemade tofu, and the expansive menu of dishes, both raw and cooked. We were a party of five and they offered us one of their private rooms on the second floor (the rooms usually require a minimum of $75/pp, but there was a last minute cancellation). We scooped up the invitation and headed to the private room with the hostess. All of us before dinner started:
We started with some green tea while we looked through the menu:
We were deciding between the tasting and ordering a la carte and decided to order a little bit of everything from the menu instead of all getting the same a la carte tasting. We ordered a lot of different dishes (focusing on the cooked dishes since my in laws don’t eat raw fish). We did, however, order a few pieces of toro for me, Teresa and Ken:
The dishes come out as they are ready so after the toro we received the freshly made tofu:
The tofu is served either cold or warm (we selected warm) alongside a container of wari-joyu, which is a mixture of soy sauce and fish broth:
The tofu had a pleasant taste but was too watery; I’ve tried making tofu before unsuccessfully (I made really good soy milk and added gypsum powder to it, but not enough because it was the same texture as this tofu).
Next, sushi with cooked crab and asparagus with a soy wrapper:
We ordered the broiled Alaskan black cod marinated in saikyo miso:
The dish was flavorful and very rich – on par with Nobu and Dieci.
Next, a mochi croquette with potato and Hudson Valley duck, served in a dashi broth:
The dish was really rich and too many textures going on (I didn’t know it was duck until I looked at the menu again after the meal).
We also ordered the lobster ishiyaki; stone grilled lobster with butter miso sauce:
The lobster was barely cooked on a stone and very buttery and sweet.
We had to order the kurobuta kakuni, the braised Berkshire pork belly in sansho miso with egg, spinach, and daikon:
My father-in-law loves pork belly so once we saw it on the menu we had to order it! The portion was very hearty and everyone was able to try the pork belly and the daikon.
We also ordered the stone grilled organic chicken, served with wasabi salt, sansho salt and garlic shoyu:
All three pairings were good, although I preferred the garlic shoyu sauce with a touch of wasabi salt.
Finally, our last course was the truffle rice pot, which takes 40 minutes to prepare! The clay pot is brought to your table:
Then lots of black truffles are shaved onto the rice:
And finally, the rice is served to everyone:
The truffles were very fragrant alongside the mushrooms and the rice – a bit expensive but worth the splurge!
Everyone enjoyed the the dinner and the best part – EN Japanese Brasserie does Apple Pay via Opentable so we didn’t even have to fight over the bill! I paid for it while we were “waiting” for our plates to be cleared. Such a genius feature from Opentable/Apple!
Cosme, a restaurant in the Gramercy/Flatiron area, has been buzzing with positive reviews since it opened last year. We have been there multiple times and have enjoyed the food so much that we decided to bring Ken’s parents there when they visited New York in July. The restaurant is located on 21st street, near Tumblr’s offices:
(I took a photo of the door and sent it to my in-laws because I was meeting them from work and didn’t want them to miss it!)
The restaurant accepts walk ins – there are two long family-style tables in the front of the restaurant, two or three tables for two right by the entrance, and seating at the bar! Here’s one of the family style tables near the bar:
The first time we ate at Cosme, we ordered some chips and guacamole while we were contemplating what to order:
We also ordered the uni tostada with avocado, bone marrow salsa and cucumber:
When we went with Ken’s parents, we started off with the Burrata, pasilla mixe salsa, weeds:
As well as the beets, charred corn salsa, farmer’s cheese:
Another appetizer we ordered was the crispy octopus, with hazelnut mole, pickled potatoes and watercress:
For the main courses, we started with the black garlic rubbed NY strip for tacos, shishitos, avocado-tarragon purée:
We also ordered the duck carnitas served with onions, radishes, and salsa verde:
It doesn’t look like a ton of meat, but look at how much meat is under the duck skin:
For dessert, we ordered the red bean tamale with ice cream:
And my favorite, the corn meringue mousse:
The corn meringue mousse is the perfect combination of textures and flavors. It’s not overly sweet and almost tastes like an deconstructed macaron. The corn meringue is cracked in the center and the corn mousse is spooned over the center of the meringue – it’s so good you have to order more than one! Ken and I really like the restaurant (and Ken’s parents liked it, too!) – I also love the bottles their water is served in:
I wanted to buy one and found out they are reused tequila bottles by Casa Dragones and it costs over $250! The bottle is made of crystal (it’s a special edition) and the tequila is made in Mexico City, where the chef is from, so I’m guessing it’s a special nod to his local tequila purveyors. Do yourself a favor and run – don’t walk – to Cosme!
In August, David and I went to Puerto Rico with my mom for a quick family getaway. We hadn’t been on vacation together (just the three of us) since 2010 so we jumped on the opportunity to stay with my mom when she was presenting at a conference in Puerto Rico.
Funnily enough, Ken and I stayed at the same resort when we went on a last minute trip to Puerto Rico back in 2013. David and I took separate flights but arrived in Puerto Rico within thirty minutes of each other so we rented a car together and drove to the El Conquistador Resort on the east side of the island in Fajardo. The resort has enough to do where you don’t have to leave (and when Ken and I went, we didn’t even bother renting a car to explore the island). This time, however, we rented a car so we could drive to San Juan. Surprisingly, getting to San Juan took over an hour (with not too much traffic) but we wanted to get out of the resort (and the resort food, which was basically American food).
We drove to San Juan on a Friday night and the city was bustling with people – the area Jose Enrique’s restaurant is located has many bars and restaurants with live music. We put our names down at Jose Enrique and were told to come back in an hour (we were expecting the wait!) We walked around the corner and found another bar to get a drink and a quick bite while we waited for the main course at Jose Enrique.
When we went back 45 minutes later, our table was ready! The restaurant was very lively with people getting drinks at the bar while they waited for dinner:
The menu is brought from table to table on these white boards (this is the main course menu):
I didn’t get a chance to take photos of the food, but the one must order is the fish fritters (the pork sausage is also pretty noteworthy!). The fish fritters were so good that we had to order another serving of it – everyone loved them and the white sauce they were served alongside.
For dessert, we were originally not going to get anything, but then decided to order the chocolate cake (which ended up being more like brownies):
And the chocolate flan:
The restaurant is worth a visit, especially if you’re in the San Juan area. We didn’t get to explore the area much afterwards because we still had a full hour of driving before getting back to the resort!
Last week, I met up with three friends that I used to work with at all’onda, a Venetian restaurant in the Union Square neighborhood:
Stephane, Christine, Kristen and myself haven’t seen each other in a long time because Christine moved to the west coast, Kristen had twins, and Stephane and I switched jobs. Luckily, we all love to eat good food so we made an excuse to visit each other when Christine came to town for work. We started with some toast with fontina cheese and apple slices:
As a starter, we tried the roasted carrot salad with ricotta, ginger vinaigrette, and cumin:
And burrata with salsa verde, market apples and grilled sourdough:
We also ordered the arancini balls with burrata and tomato:
The food was all very good; the roasted carrot salad was sweet but had a very good burnt flavor, the burrata had a mix of a lot of different flavors that worked well together, and the arancini was crispy on the outside but had a very good flavor inside.
For our main courses, Christine ordered the tortelli with morels, peas, fava beans and ricotta salata:
Kristen and I both ordered the bucatini, their specialty dish, with smoked uni and spicy breadcrumbs:
And Stephane ordered the rigatoni with aged duck ragu and radicchio:
Each pasta was very well made and we enjoyed it, but I thought the service was too rushed and they ended up coming by multiple times while we were eating to clear our plates even though we still had a lot of food left! The food was good, but there are so many good places in the city that I don’t think it’s special enough to return any time soon.
A few weeks ago, I did a girls weekend in East Hampton with some close friends. It was a really fun weekend and we also managed to eat a lot of good food while we were there. On Saturday night, me, Denise, Anna and Ariel went to Moby’s East Hampton and the food and atmosphere did not disappoint. We started out with prosecco while we waited for Ariel:
We started with a butterhead lettuce salad with radishes, avocado, gorgonzola and butter milk dressing:
Very lightly dressed with butter milk dressing and the vegetables were all freshly picked from a local farmer’s market.
Next, we ordered the burrata, which was served with romano beans, arugula, crispy shallots, and Amagansett sea salt:
This dish was the star of the evening – the burrata was creamy and had so much flavor! One order is definitely enough to share with a group, but it’s so good that it’s worth ordering two of them.
Next, we ordered the local asparagus:
For our mains, we ordered the whole black sea bass from local fishermen with spring onions, salmoriglio, and grilled lemon:
And the flatiron steak with broccolini and shallots:
The meal was really delicious and the atmosphere was really lively but not too loud. The interiors are painted white with splashes of navy blue. There’s also a tent in the back that’s very lively (but not air conditioned). I’d recommend calling ahead for reservations!
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