Note: I will use some Japanese terms, which will be highlighted in italics and accompanied by translations in parenthesis.
Rhode Island is known for its Seafood, Italian and Portuguese cuisines. Japanese, however, often escapes the grander culinary reputation. Admiral Perry came from Newport, and he opened relations between the United States and Japan. Rhode Island also shares the intensity of seasons celebrated in Japanese culture. Yet, to find a good piece of sashimi (thinly sliced raw fish) or some tender gyoza (dumplings), you had to venture to either Boston or New York City.
Enn has filled the void. Upon seeing the restaurant offering an 'open soon' sign west of Lincoln Mall, it piqued me and my wife's tastes for authentic Japanese food. We had bad experiences with some of the other local establishments, with them either being too theatrical and American, or simply just not good. Enn offered rebirth as it opened in Spring.
Inside, Enn presents Japanese simiplicity and elegance. The restaurant was clean and wonderfully colored, offering a beautiful view of Lincoln's rolling hills and dense forests. A small lounge slightly seperated from the main dining room and sushi bar holds a quiet elegance and a nice television set. I must catch a Patriots game there while enjoying a sampling of sushi.
Our first meal consisted of gyoza, sashimi, and sushi (raw fish served upon or rolled with rice). Our sampling of appetizers revealed a potent kitchen capable of producing high-quality Japanese food for a modest price. The gyoza were perfectly cooked, stuffed with meat and vegetables. The dumplings had a wonderful crust on one side and a wonderfully tender other side. They served a small sampling of spices and a small bowl of dipping sauce that wonderfully complimented the other flavors. Next, I received a modest sampling of nigiri sushi while my wife sampled their skill in producing sashimi. Both dishes featured fish served at the perfect temperature, and each piece was tender and delicious.
Our next meal involved us ordering lunch, which we ordered gyoza, sushi, and sashimi again. They maintained the quality and surpised us with offering the fish with a bento-style Japanese lunch box and a bowl of Udon noodles. Udon are thick wheat noodles served in a savory broth. The bowl and dish were works of art that had a wonderful flavor. We were served a second soup dish because we ordered the lunch, and what came out of the condition surprised us both. Neither me nor my wife ever enjoyed Miso soup, until we tried Enn's. The delicate umami (savory flavor) mixed in a perfectly seasoned broth. The lunch was then brought out, and to our surprise, contained special appetizers. This is common and they change daily, bringing variety to the meals. The salad served was rather normal and served with the traditional ginger dressing, but the understated gem of the lunch was a small offering of Japanese relish, different from the stuff Americans put on their hot dogs.
At the end of the meal, the waitress told us the chef was perfecting ice cream flavors including; green tea, azuki (sweet red bean), and ginger. We've since had the green tea, and despite it being served with a dollop of too-sweet cool whip, the ice cream was perfectly chilled and wonderfully flavored to balance the sweetness of ice cream with the bitterness of green tea. They also serve a unique fried vanilla ice cream 'breaded' with granola and flavored with a sweet plum sauce.
Japanese food may be scary to someone who has never encountered it, but trust me in that this is where you want to try it. I've spent alot more for a lower quality meal, though Enn is moderately priced. Art is never cheap. Enn is located on George Washington Highway in Lincoln, Rhode Island. They have a website with a full menu, though specials are best inquired about either by phone or in person.