Mon-Thu, noon-2:30pm and 5:30pm-10:30pm; Fri-Sat, noon-2:30pm and 5:30-11:30pm; Sun, 5:30pm-10:30pm
1 at Christopher St.-Sheridan Sq.; 1 at Houston St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Canal St. to 14th St., Sixth Ave. to West St.
The owners of EN run a chain of restaurants in Japan specializing in a homey, pub style of dining called izakaya. Izakayas, typically, are small, neighborly places where groups of gruff gentlemen sip sake and eat local, rustic dishes like grilled beef tongue or boiled burdock root. You can actually get a good bowl of boiled burdock root at EN, but the experience isn't exactly neighborly, and there's nothing very rustic about it. Not that this is a bad thing. The food is often very good at EN, and the way the proprietors have taken a specific, even obscure, form of Japanese cooking, and blown it into a high-volume, bridge-and-tunnel extravaganza, is a study in clever rebranding...Tables are scattered in distant corners, and there is a series of communal dining counters set around a weirdly lit granite fountain, but the focus of the restaurant is a long dining bar, which is made of blond Japanese pine and fitted out with stacks of Japanese crockery and a big, steaming tofu cooker. It turns out that tofu, in various fresh-made forms, is central to EN's culinary identity...It's skimmed into thin sheets of tofu skin called yuba, or steamed in clay pots with yams and bits of crab, or scooped into lacquer boxes and served warm or chilled, with different varieties of soy sauce. All the tofu I sampled was good, but the most interesting was the yuba sashimi, composed of cool, milky strips of freshly made yuba compressed into squares and served with a mound of shaved radish and a single shiso leaf.Note
Like authentic baguettes, the tofu at EN is made fresh, five times per evening.