So….I made a mistake. When my mom was visiting a few weeks ago, I gave her a few choices for where we could go to lunch by my office, all of which I hadn’t been to before. She very quickly picked the Korean option, wasting no time at all with making her decision. Thus, we made our way to Ennju in Union Square, which we very promptly realized was, in fact, a Japanese restaurant. Not even Asian Fusion or a mix of Japanese and Korean. Just straight up Japanese food. Sorry mom!!
Despite my misstep, we still enjoyed a nice, affordable lunch here. A lot of Ennju is devoted to self-service where you can grab prepackaged sushi (that they’re actually making fresh and then setting out for take-out) or items you can put in a container to pay by weight. Both of these are great options if you need to grab something to eat and get out the door in a jiffy, but since my mom and I were going to be dining in, we checked out the other foods on the menu. There are platters served with rice and salad like chicken katsu and salmon teriyaki, salads like soba salad and seaweed salad, donburi dishes like oyako don and gyu don, and noodle soups with udon or soba.
Along with some sushi and soup from the serve-yourself section, my mom and I both ordered the katsu don from the donburi section. Donburi literally means bowl and is sometimes abbreviated as “don,” hence “oyako don,” “gyu don,” and “katsu don.” It’s a rice bowl dish, often served in oversized bowls. The katsu don variety has a deep-fried pork cutlet with egg on top of the rice. Supposedly it’s a tradition for students in Japan to eat this dish before taking a big exam because “katsu” is pronounced the same as another verb which means “to win.” Hey, if nothing else, it’s still a pretty delicious meal. I’m such a fan of tonkatsu, the actual breaded and fried pork cutlet, that any dish with it is bound to make me happy, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–eggs are one of my least desired foods. Yet, the way it was prepared with this dish was totally palatable to me, and dare I say, tasty? In all truth, it was yummy and filling meal. Not Korean, but still good. 😉
Since it’s so cafeteria-like, Ennju is more for those looking to grab lunch or take food to-go. If you’re one of those people who heads to the grocery store during lunch to grab a container of sushi, try checking out Ennju first to get something similar but more fresh and still easy on your wallet.
Katsu don, spicy salmon roll
20 E 17th St
New York, NY 10003