The Park Slope Gastronome

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Yesterday's Brunch: Gen Japanese Restaurant

While the husband was off pondering over baseball players for the first of his many fantasy drafts, I met up with the CLC and Jimmy-John for some Japanese brunch at Gen. I first noticed this place because their logo is similiar to the Korean word for Hong and because I don't think I ever saw it open. Also, it sticks out on a relatively unattractive stretch of Prospect Heights, flanked by wholesale liquor stores and hiddeous new construction. The CLC had recently tried their newish brunch with her mom and was all raves. I know some people might be turned off by the idea of brunch at a Japanese restaurant, but mostly folks are just probably misinformed and scared.

You can order Japanese dishes and sushi a la carte or go with the prix-fix brunch, which is what I did. At $13, it's quite a deal. To drink, you can pick from a selection of teas or Cafe Du Monde coffee. On top of that you get a choice of juice (orange, cranberry or tomato) or cocktail (sake mimosa or cranberry sake spritzer type beverage). I went with coffee and the spritzer, the CLC barley tea and cranberry juice and Jim, who did not go with the special brunch ordered a ginger ale with a splash of cranberry.

All the brunch bentos begin with the soup of the day. On Sunday it was a savory chicken vegetable (potato chunks, napa cabbage ribbons and lima beans!) Not terribly Japanese, but tasty nonetheless.

To accompany your main course, you also get the following: a piece of green tea pancake with a dollop of sweetened red beans, mini-chirashi and a mini-omelet with king crab, parmasaen, tomato and onion. The mini-chirashi was built with a mound of seasoned wild rice as its foundation. Pieces of whitefish, salmon and smoked salmon sashimi were draped over it and then topped with salmon roe and green tobiko.

I had a tough time picking my main but ultimately went with the salad with tuna two ways. I know Sunday isn't the best day to order fish, but I took a chance and it worked out fine. The salad was composed of pieces of fresh tuna and pressed, deep fried tuna and avocado slices over a bed of lettuces, tomato, red cabbage and carrot strands. Served on the side was a salty and tart yuzu caper dressing. At first I dipped my salad into my dressing, but then wound up just pouring it over everything which worked out just fine, thank you.

I ate it all, although I did share some of my pancake with Jim. It was delicious and such a nice alternative to full sized omelets and home fries. I liked getting a little bit of sweet to go with my savory. I liked the lack of bread, which I eat way too much of anyway. The only non-plus was the service. It wasn't a minus since she was quite attentive (there was only one other table eating), but she was kind of strange. Jim had finished eating his oyako-don but there was still a little bit of food left. When the waitress came to clear his plate, she seemed a little annoyed that he hadn't eaten everything. Also, she seemed to be having a contentious conversation with one of the sushi chefs about the way the menu was written out. Although they had nothing to do with each other, it didn't help matters when Beth loudly complained about girls with schmatas on their heads since our waitress was wearing a headwrap herself!

I hope some of this appeals to DMR since I plan on eating brunch here EVERY WEEKEND. Just kidding, we can alternate with Bonitas.

I also thought that I was picking up menu #2 for the new apartment (The Smoke Joint being menu #1), but turns out we'll be 2 blocks too North for their delivery range.

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Blogger China-Latina Chowhound said...

Gen brunch is the best thing I've tried in a while. The portions are generous, but not overwhelming (though the first time I went I got a mackerel ginger maki in addition to the prix fixe, and that was too much). This is sort of out of character for me, but I think my favorite part of the bruch is the green tea pancake. Fluffy and delicious, perfectly complimented by the sweet red bean paste.

Also, that trustafarian waitress is WHACK. I've had her twice and both times she seemed pretty out of sorts. I'm so over her dreads and fascination with the 'Orient'. I'm sure she majored in Comparative East Asian Studies at Sarah Lawrence. So corny.

March 12, 2007 10:21 PM  
Blogger youthlarge said...

That is REALLY out of character for you. Meats of the world are going to be PISSED.

March 13, 2007 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear China-Latina,
"I'm so over her dreads . .", I think your comments are pretty mean, selfish and personal. I don't think she is the way she is because she wants your approval. Why can't you just say the service wasn't good?

Also, what you're "sure" of, you couldn't be more wrong about. She took the job because she's a professional dancer and needs some extra cash - not because she is fascinated with the orient. The fact is she's an artist, which by your hip over-sized sunglasses, you seem to like to pretend to be, but probably aren't. Let people be. If you want everyone to look the same then eat at a McDonalds. Or Williamsburg.

By the way, I eat at Gen pretty regularly and I agree the service is quirky. That part you got right. But I think it's worth it.

April 30, 2007 6:23 PM  
Blogger youthlarge said...

Hi anonymous,

I don't think anyone is asking for anyone's approval. But as a customer at a restaurant, I certainly think it's well within one's rights to expect good service.

The bottom line is that the "quirks" in the service detract from the great dining experience at Gen. This may be a weird comparison, but it reminds me of when baseball umpires think the game is about them. No one is paying money to see them call balls and strikes, they're paying money to see a baseball game and the players involved.

When I go to Gen, I want the overriding feeling post meal to be about how delicious the meal was, not how strange and unsettling the service was.

May 01, 2007 10:49 AM  
Blogger youthlarge said...

I also wanted to add, yes, Gen is definitely worth it. The brunch is a great deal and I look forward to having dinner there, too. I really wish they would extend their delivery range two more blocks north.

May 01, 2007 12:30 PM  
Blogger China-Latina Chowhound said...


Your comments are as trite and simple as your prose is weak. I am not really interested in why that girl with the sour demeanor has inexplicably taken a job in the service industry. I am more concerned with the fact that her horrible attitude prevents me from eating at a restaurant that I do in fact like. To say the service is quirky is an insult to the rest of the staff, who all seem to be very pleasant. In fact, the other waitress who works brunch is incredibly sweet. At this point, I've had the "dreaded" waitress three times. She has been rude and surly EVERY time and twice she yelled at the sushi chef, causing discomfort and embarrassment for the diners simply trying to enjoy their brunch.

Also, this notion that starving artists are somehow more noble than the rest of us is a total cliche. The fact that she aspires to be a dancer does not give her license to forget to act like a human being. You know - someone who can actually live and interact with other people in the world.

One last thing. I wear big sunglasses because I have a big face. It's as simple as that. I don't now, nor have I ever claimed to be an artist, though I have performed music in public for money. If you must know, I do events and fundraising for a major non-profit, because I'm, um, such a selfish bitch. I wonder how many underprivileged children the waitress at Gen has helped with her dancing and horrific customer service...

May 01, 2007 6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My point was that you were attacking her for things that have nothing to do with the service - like her hair and hobbies. That's just not cool.

May 02, 2007 6:24 PM  
Blogger China-Latina Chowhound said...

Do you know what else isn't cool? Leaving anonymous comments on a blog in order to defend someone who is routinely rude to customers and co-workers. Someone who I suspect wouldn't even give you the time of day based upon the fact that she seems rather put upon when serving people at Gen, which is, you know, her JOB. Unless...wait a second, are you her? That would be so unbelievably lame, yet HILARIOUS all at once. As for making fun of her for things other than her hideous personality, which she wears like a badge while waiting tables, well, you got me there. Though, if you look to your previous comment on this blog, I think that you would see we are having a little bit of a pot calling the kettle black type situation. Also, unlike a waitress who works for tips, I am in no way obligated to be nice or customer service oriented. If you do not like the content, simply stop reading. Regardless, we're done here. Feel free to leave another less than insightful comment if you like - we'll just delete it.

May 02, 2007 7:37 PM  
Anonymous kurius said...

occasionally i do a search to see what is said about places i frequent. the way i choose those places is based off whether the environment is complementary to my personality.

i've been going to GEN for quite a while now and have had a pleasant time, every time. i've talked to all the people that work there, and they are all very nice. if you had ever talked to that waitress, perhaps you would have noticed that she doesn't even talk like mr. anonymous up there (you might have figured out the right way to type the restaurant's name too). everyone has ups and downs, that includes the world outside GEN. i would rather have a server who is honestly themselves, than one who smiles to your face and talks crap behind your back. ..wait, that sounds like you..

i must say that your assumptions are disheartening. do you try to actually talk to people or just find out what you can to use them and pick them apart? if you talk to people, you might actually get to know them. as a fellow being on a relatively small rock floating in space, i would never want to meet you. better yet, i wouldn't want to have a meal with you either, and that saddens me.

btw, i won't leave a way to contact me either, cause you're a person i don't want contacting me ranting and raving. this 'blogging' thing is unbelievable sometimes. ever heard the saying ," if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all " ? you're very uncouth for you age.

i do agree with anonymous, you are mean. you seem to take things pretty personal too. take a hint from you own profile and maybe stop eating and drinking so much.

was that too mean?

June 26, 2007 7:48 PM  
Anonymous kurius said...

my apologies, to youthlarge.

my comment was directed at
China-Latina Chowhound

June 26, 2007 7:54 PM  
Blogger youthlarge said...

No need to apologize to me, but I found your comment to be somewhat hypocritical. I'm not sure what the point is in throwing out an adage and then breaking your own golden rule in the very next sentence.

If a server "being themselves" means service is going to suck, then please take me off the list. I don't go to restaurants to make friends or relish in the quirkiness of human beings. I go to restaurants FOR THE FOOD. At the end of the day, I want a server who is going to do a solid job and not become the story. I found the server at Gen to be brusque and not in line with the food or atmosphere.

Are you seriously nitpicking over the fact that we didn't capitalize Gen like you did? Not that it really matters, but check the website.

June 26, 2007 11:16 PM  
Blogger Listmaker said...

>as a fellow being on a relatively >small rock floating in space, i >would never want to meet you. better >yet, i wouldn't want to have a meal >with you either, and that saddens me.

these might be the funniest two sentences i've read on the internet all year.

June 28, 2007 12:29 PM  

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