After dropping off my bags in his downtown San Jose apartment and donning my bullet-proof vest, we walked a couple of blocks to E & O Trading Company. This is a restaurant that is billed as a Southeast fusion restaurant. Whatever that means... to me, it means the people behind the restaurant couldn't commit to one cuisine. It might be a little asinine to go to a fusion Asian restaurant in an area with fantastic AUTHENTIC Vietnamese, Indian, Korean, Chinese, Mexican and so forth restaurants. However, this restaurant was close and it's definitely better than the P.F. Chang's around the corner from the apartment. The downtown yuppies must love this restaurant because it is completely packed with diners and they seemed to be for the most part enjoying themselves. I digress, onto the food!
Burmese Ginger Salad: Green papaya, napa cabbage, peanuts, toasted coconut, dried shrimp & lemon dressing- $10
The salad was a great starter, it had a lot of zing and the peanuts added a nice textural contrast. However, I couldn't get rid of the nagging feeling that I was eating a very overpriced dish. If my mummy got wind of the the fact that I was eating something akin to a plate of Vietnamese goi and paying $10 for it... I don't even want to say. The dish wasn't even that big. Hmm... [contemplatively stroking chin]... but it did go great with the next dish.
Mandalay Spare Ribs: rubbed w. brown sugar, glazed with mango mustard sauce- $12
How could you not like this dish? Meaty, sweet, salty, finger-lickin' goodness. We were happily licking our fingers after this small dish. The meat was also very tender and moist. Not much to complain about here.
5 Spice New York Strip: all natural niman ranch steak, hoisin glazed potatoes & baby bok choy- $25
This was our shared entree and it was listed under the "Big Plates" part of the menu. It would please most diners and there aren't very many misgivings. A positive note, the star anise flavor on the steak was very prominent and I couldn't help but think of pho whenever I was chewing on it. It had all the flavors of pho: the spices, the beefiness. It was completely trippy. AND, there were hoisin flavored potatoes and hoisin is one of the condiments for pho. Definitely a fun experience when you're eating one thing and it evokes memories of another. The dish didn't wow me but the experience of eating it was definitely fun. If I want the tastes of pho, I'll just go find a bowl of pho.
All in all, definitely not a bad restaurant but it was just too overpriced for my comfort. However, I do hear they have a happy hour, which will be the only reason to ever bring me back to this restaurant. Liquor me up, then feed me cheaply!
E & O Trading Company
96 South 1st Street
San Jose, CA