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Anybody tried out En?


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There is a review this week in the Seattle Weekly.

http://seattleweekly.com/features/0227/foo...-lightner.shtml

Kathy

Edit: Oops, sorry Ben. I just realized you already pointed that out (slaps forehead).

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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I also read a good review on En not too long ago in the Seattle Times, and would be up to going if anyone else wants to. The reviewer said rather than sushi, the chef specializes in "homemade-style" modern Japanese cuisine, which sounded pretty good. For the review

Click here

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nyago.gif

Well after all the glowing reviews we had read about En (in the Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly, "10" ratings on Citysearch...), my boyfriend and I decided to try it for dinner. Unfortuneately we were a bit disappointed. Maybe it would have been better to go at lunch as most of the reviewers seemed to have, but to us our dinner just was "Ok" and a little overpriced for what it was.

The decor and feel of the place is kind of cute and hip with red walls, floors and Asian decor which is kind of interesting as the food was supposed to be more "homestyle" Japanese as the reviews said.

We started off with the Kushiage appetizer--tempura-style fish, chicken and vegetables dipped in panko (breadcrumbs) and fried. They were hot and tasty but kind of just resembled something I could have just made at home. The dipping sauce was just the regular tonkatsu sauce that you get at other Japanese restaurants, nothing very exciting.

My boyfriend's Chicken Tatsura--a seasoned chicken dish with vegetables--was "good, but kind of dry" according to him. For my entree I had the Shoga Pork a simple stir-fried ginger and onion pork dish. It was ok, and it's probably really good for onion-lovers as it came with a lot of them, but I strangely felt as though I had eaten the dish before. The answer to which was--yes I had! It was really just like the Ginger Pork I get at the mall at Edo of Japan (Northgate Mall and Bellevue Square)! Sure the portion at the mall is probably not as large, but the ~$6 I pay there includes rice and seems to have more ginger flavor as well.

After little extras were added to our bill like steamed rice for two and green tea, our bill--not including tip--came to $33.00. Though the atmosphere was nice--as was our server, in the end my partner and I felt like we would have felt the same amount of satisfaction food-wise if we really had eaten at the mall. To wash out the taste of having eaten over-priced mall food, we skipped the dull dessert selections (ice cream and mochi) and later went out for Ben & Jerry's.

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Welcome, Nana_Kat, and thanks for the writeup. This reminds me of something we were talking about over dinner tonight (not at En), something we've mentioned on this forum before, I think, but in case there are any restaurateurs newly joining us:

Stop charging for extras!

Running a restaurant is scary, from a business perspective. Unless your restaurant is subsidized by a hotel or a drug kingpin or something, you spend money on countless little things but 100% of your income comes from customers paying for food and wine. Your object is to convince us that you aren't overcharging, even when you technically are. Cooking everything to perfection and having effortlessly great service is a good start, but it's not enough. You have to make us feel like we're getting a special deal, even beating the house. André Soltner used to do that at Lutèce by convincing everyone that he was inventing a dish just for them (he wasn't). The complimentary amuse-bouche that most French restaurants send out is another example. I, the customer, am paying for that little terrine, but I don't feel like I am. Instead I feel like you, the restaurant, have given me a special favor.

Nobody in the business that I know of understands this better than Vikram Vij, the proprietor of Vij's Indian restaurant in Vancouver BC and a genuine customer service genius. Vij's is always packed, and I've never gotten a table without waiting for an hour. But while I wait I am plied with spicy little pooris, paratha, and chai, all free. Then when we're finally seated, Vij himself makes an appearance to apologize for the delay and promise us that our food will be out quickly (it is). Ample rice and naan is served at the table, all free.

Free? Of course it's not free. A percentage of the menu prices pays for the free hors d'oeuvres and starches. Making customers pay for rice is just plain stupid. I know how much rice costs because I buy big bags of it at Uwajimaya: it costs jack shit. Sure, you can pad out your bill by charging everyone a dollar for steamed rice, but at what cost? A customer who feels nickel-and-dimed is not a happy customer. Now, raise the app and entree prices 50 cents each and make the rice free, and I'll tell my friends how generous you are.

I probably will still try En because I'm interested in the concept, but you've offered a valuable grain of salt, or rice.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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It seems like every Asian restaurant now charges for rice. Good rant, mamster!!

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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To be fair, low-priced Asian restaurants are operating on particularly thin margins and have to compete on price to a degree that some other types of restaurants don't. I really think the Vij model has a lot to offer, though.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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I agree,

Charging for rice makes me so angry.

The worst is when the rice just shows up and you assume it came with what you ordered...until you get the extra $5 on the bill for that 30 cents worth of rice.

I tried to argue this once at a thai place where they suprised me at lunch and the woman got upset and told me that she was doing me a favor since the dishes we ordered are usually eaten with rice.

Ben Schielke

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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You can add me to the list of people who hate getting charged extra for rice and tea, or nickle and dimed in other places, too. If they just add the cost of the extras into the price of the meal I am much happier. This applies to even cheaper dining, too. It used to irk me to no end that Spud Fish n Chip used to charge extra for tarter sauce...geesh. So glad they now just add it into the price of their meals now. I still like Sunfish better though, (smile).

Welcome Nana_Kat. Thanks for the great review.

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YAHOOOO MAMSTER!!!

I've noticed a scary trend in charging extras. One of my favorite Thai/Japanese restaurants in Kent -- Saya's -- is now charging $2 to use a bank card or Visa card!! THAT'S TWO BUCKS EXTRA ON THE BILL for a $6 entree!! Ridiculous. So now I refuse to eat there. I used to pick up lunch for my hubby and his co-workers -- probably about $100 worth of business a month. Well, they just lost that biz -- all because I don't want to make an extra trip to the cash machine for my portion of the bill (I never carry cash.. because I'll spend it if I do :).

I was just thinking the other day that the Thai place near our house (All Spices Thai in Sumner/Bonney Lake) is now $10 for the mixed vegetables with peanut sauce I always get. The entree is $7.95, and then they charge me $1 for the extra tofu (it doesn't come with tofu!!! and it's a vegetarian dish.... errr) and $1 for rice, which should come with the dish anyway. Well, I told hubby the other day that we can wait an extra few days, save up $5 more and go to someplace with distinctive food and atmo -- like Papachef's Blue Onion Bistro or Eva or anyplace else that has something beyond generic food and atmo. I wonder if other diners will catch on to the dirty little "extra charge" secret and start chosing their dining spots more carefully like some of us have. Maybe I just need to write more letters to get my point across....

Just my $.02 for the day.

A palate, like a mind, works better with exposure and education and is a product of its environment.

-- Frank Bruni

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We at the Onion will now charge for toilet tissue! (vbg)

Just kiddin'...We drove by EN on Saturday late and it was packed and they had a very sweet Jazz combo playing. This place was a taco joint. Go figure!!

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Well, Nana_Kat and I were there Saturday around 8pm. The restaurant started out almost empty but was filling up when we left. I think there was a sign out front saying there was to be live jazz between 10:30pm and 2:00am or something like that.

Anyway, I don't have a lot to add food-wise. The chicken tatsura I had was accompanied by some over-cooked stir-fried vegetables and a potato side with kabocha and asparagus that was actually pretty good.

There were some interesting things on the menu, although more with cheese than I would have liked at a Japanese restaurant.

I'm thinking this place would possibly be a much better deal during happy hour as listed in the Seattle Times' article, when the starters would have been two for the price of one. Also, the lunch options actually sounded better than the dinner entrees, and definately more economical. I'd be kind of tempted to try it during lunch, except for the fact that I'm usually over on the Eastside then.

I just can't see myself going there for dinner again anytime soon. I'll probably leave my "homestyle" fixes for home or maybe Fuji.

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I've noticed a scary trend in charging extras. One of my favorite Thai/Japanese restaurants in Kent -- Saya's -- is now charging $2 to use a bank card or Visa card!! THAT'S TWO BUCKS EXTRA ON THE BILL for a $6 entree!! Ridiculous. So now I refuse to eat there.

Thanks for the cheer. You know, this violates the merchant's contract with the credit card company. If you're good at dropping veiled threats, you could probably get them to quit, although perhaps not without damaging your status with the restaurant. :unsure:

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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From Mamster: You know, this violates the merchant's contract with the credit card company.If you're good at dropping veiled threats, you could probably get them to quit, although perhaps not without damaging your status with the restaurant. End Mamster :)

Thanks Mamster for that great tip! I've now got a fabulous plan in the works.... mwa ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaa.

A palate, like a mind, works better with exposure and education and is a product of its environment.

-- Frank Bruni

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