En Restaurant and Bar in Ft Greene
EN is a new addition to the Ft. Greene/Clinton Hill dining community. It specializes in Nigerian and Caribbean cuisine and I wish I could say I loved it or even liked it but I can't. To be fair, my dining companion and myself sampled only the Nigerian dishes and stayed away from the Caribbean influenced ones. I say "influenced” because their take on West Indian dishes appeared more like Tikki Bar meets the Islands via a can of dole pineapple. All these plates contained pineapple and appeared overly sweet. We eschewed these in favor of what we hoped would be a taste of Nigeria. Now to be honest I am unfamiliar with Nigerian cuisine and can only judge it by the universal culinary standard: did the food seem well prepared? As well as by my own palate. On both En failed to please.
The cod fish balls had no hint of cod and if they had been called corn meal balls would have been ok. The two other dishes (I am sorry I can’t remember the names) were not pleasing at all. I had a stewed dish prepared with ground nuts, fermented fish sauce, some sort of green and chicken. Now I like fermented fish but in this preparation the taste dominated all others and left an unpleasant taste that lingered for hours. In addition the chicken was not soft but rather tough. My companion’s dish was a goat stew with okra, tomatoes and palm oil. The goat was actually tender (we were surprised as our very pleasant waitress told us it was tougher that most Americans expect) but the goatskin was not pleasing (again to be honest she warned us about this and offered to serve it without the skin but we forged ahead). If the mélange the goat was sitting in was tasty this might have been the dish of the night. Unfortunately it was not. The overall taste was that of something rancid. Perhaps it was the palm oil (which I have used in cooking many times and know it should not taste rancid). Add to this we waited for our food for a good hour and the appetizer (the codfish balls) came out with our main meal, it was not a happy time.
So what was good? Well the drinks were good and the waitress was very sweet and I sense she knew we were not happy and said the owner wanted to offer us something else. But at that point we had enough, politely paid the bill and left.
I don’t know now if I simply don’t like Nigerian food or if this was simply poorly prepared but I have a feeling it was the latter. The kitchen seemed so unprofessional. After all, there was only one other table occupied and they left about half way into our long wait for our food.
This place does not fit for me.. My first encounter with this place was incredibly awkward and each time I pass, there are things that consistently discourage me..
The place is too formal for the neighborhood.. And it's like a faux formal.. The first time, it was 9 am and there were 12 people dressed in tuxedos getting ready for New Years Dinner.. Noone said hello.. I was standing there.. Noone greeted me or even explained to me what was going on.. The restaurant didnt open till that evening but, people were in tuxedos all day prepping?
Then, I walked by on a perfectly sunny afternoon to find a dark restaurant with string lights blinking under neath the bar..
It's too clubby.. And while trying to be clubby, it comes off cheap..
All of this over doing it makes me think that the place is overpriced, drinks are the main focus, and the food will be a series of fusion mishaps..
Granted, I havent been but, I have no desire to try it.
I actually found your article quite interesting..well i visited this place and I understand its very new..anyway... I had the codfish fritters and I found they were quite good.....and I prefer cornmeal than white flour anyway...to be honest I did not try the nigerian food...i had the caribbean stuff...and i found that it was great...I had the oxtails and stew chicken ...loved it....the waitress was extremely helpful....and the ambiance is beautiful...i will definitely go back.....oh...ps...the drinks...mango sangria and sorrel mojitos were great