Tonight my family went to En, a Japanese restaurant in Santa Clara. Right when I walked in I really liked the decor of the restaurant. It is modern yet classic and classy at the same time. There is an open kitchen in the back wall along with a sushi bar and I really liked the lantern type lights hanging over the tables. Our reservation was at 7:30pm and by 8pm the place was packed with people. A lot of them were businessmen but they all seemed to enjoy the food a lot. The only thing I didn’t like was that the waiters were very useless about recommending food to order – they would just list things off on the menu instead of actually thinking about what’s good.
But looking past that, the meal was excellent. It wasn’t traditional Japanese food so it was a nice change of pace from sushi and sashimi. We started with the Scallop Creamy Croquette and it was pretty amazing. The outside was a nice golden brown while the inside was super rich and creamy, yet not heavy at all. I think there was potato mixed in with the scallops but surprisingly it was still very fluffy on the inside. The sauce was a perfect match for the croquette. The portion wasn’t too big but we ordered a variety of dishes to share so we split the three croquettes between the five of us and it was fine.
Next we had the Yamaimo Agegobo Salad, which is a mountain yam salad. It sounded interesting so we ordered it and it turned out to be one of the best dishes of the night. The salad consisted of vegetables mixed with thinly sliced yam, little cubed yam, bean sprouts, tomatoes, fried yam strings, and topped with a soy sauce base vinaigrette dressing. The different ways that the yam was prepared on the dish gave it great contrast, and the fried yam strings were excellent. I do have to say that there was a little too much soy sauce dressing, which made some parts a little salty. Nonetheless, it was a very unique and well prepared dish.
The fresh oysters we ordered were really good as well – really fresh with a great sauce to accompany it. However, there was a little too much green onion over the top, which is a recurring theme at the restaurant if you look at the later pictures posted. We also ordered the Grilled Eggplant with Miso and Cheese. I’m normally not a big fan of eggplant, but this was pretty well made. It had tons of flavor and the char on the skin was phenominal – a lot of flavors were captured there. There was a lot of green onion on this dish too.
Next came the Buta Kimchi Nabe, which is almost like a Korean tofu soup with kimchi, tofu, beef, and vegetables. Everything in this pot was tender and had a lot of kimchi flavor. It also had a good spiciness to it that wasn’t overpowering but could still get a sweat going. The only complaint about this dish was that the kimchi broth itself tasted a little watered down to me, but I still enjoyed it.
The final two dishes of the night were a Braised Pork Fried Rice and a Green Onion and Beef Omelet. The fried rice was flavorful, but not the best I’ve ever had. The rice itself didn’t seem fried at all. They also added a sunny side up egg that had to be broken to get to the rice (hence we mixed it in) and that made the rice wet and soggy. However, the green onion in the rice did give it a really good flavor. The pork itself was very tender and flavorful. But it also had a lot of fat and to be honest, my mom could have cooked the same thing and made it better. So I wasn’t too impressed with this dish.
The omelet, on the other hand, was pretty good. They used beef brisket cut into cubes and it was very tender. The eggs were still a bit runny, which is the way I like them prepared. There was some type of Japanese sauce sitting on top of the omelet that I really enjoyed as well.
All the flavors were there, but when it reached our table the egg was at most at a lukewarm. Also, I know it is a green onion and beef omelet, but maybe that amount of green onions is a little much? Just a thought.
Overall, I really enjoyed this meal. It wasn’t the same boring Japanese cuisine that I usually have so it was definitely a welcomed change. Although it’s a little pricy, I think it’s worth a try if you’re in the South Bay. They have a lot of different options on their menu so go check it out if you have a chance. If you go with more people, you’ll get to try more dishes – just a suggestion.