Saturday, September 19, 2009

Japanese Craving

Japanese izayaka and yakitori are comfort foods for me. Over the past few months, I've been trying out the best Yelp rated restaurants in the South Bay. I've tried Gochi, Sumiya, Tanto, and now En. En is my new favorite. It's casual, yet classy, and the food is well made and authentic.

My mom was craving for a plate of Yakiudon. I called Gochi, but their reservations book was filled and a walk-in wait was over 30 minutes (and we were trying to catch a movie after dinner). So we drove to Tanto, but as soon as we entered we were crudely rejected. They, too, were all booked for the night. Driving back down on El Camino, I saw that bright red sign of En and I immediately turned in the parking lot. To our pleasant surprise, they not only had open tables, but they also became our new favorite Bay Area izayaka restaurant.

The Inside, Front Room

The Inside, Back Room

The Beer Pairing
Sapporo on draft. I love the refreshing taste and feel of Japanese beer when I eat izakaya. The beer cuts through the grilling and complements the meal so well.

Creamy Scallop Croquette
I grew up loving Japanese croquettes. My criteria is a light, crispy outside, and a light and creamy inside. This nailed it. The outside was nicely coated with Panko and well fried, yet not overly done. The inside was smooth and creamy with tasty bits of scallop. Delicious!

Grilled Chicken Wings. The wings were generous in size, well grilled, and still moist and flavorful.

Like with croquettes, I also have a criteria for yakiudon. Chewy noodles and that high heat taste. Another success. This place is awesome.

UPDATE: The following night and another night soon after that, we went back to En to try out more items on their menu.
Oyster with Miso Sauce
The oysters were smaller than we had expected, and the miso sauce was a bit too overpowering and sweet.

Oyster Agedashi
Oysters wrapped in Bacon, then fried in a tempura batter, and topped with Agedashi sauce. Delicious! The oyster doesn't get lost in the bacon. All the flavors go so well together.

Shishito Peppers
Nicely grilled. A great side.

Bitter Melon with Tofu
I love bitter melon, and this was well done!

Kushi Katsu
Fried Kabobs. This order mixed white fish, salmon, and pork. It was pretty good, but nothing special.

Grilled Saba
Mackerel. The fish was fresh and meaty. The grilling was done so well. The fish was still tender, moist, and with a nice bite.

Uni Fried Rice
Rice topped with Uni, a Ikura, and a Poached Egg. So good! It was a meal in itself. I love all the elements on their own and to put it all together was just awesome.

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