Unagi is one of my old time favourite Japanese dish. So simple but yet so difficult to master. Only two ingredients, rice and eel but a failure most of the time. I can count on one hand the number of times I had this dish right and it was only in restaurants serving unagi only.
My first true experience was in this little restaurant on Rue Saint Honore in Paris called Nodaiwa and the second time was in this little random place in Kyoto. In short, the eels are kept alive in fish tanks then cut in fillets, put on a skewer, grilled on embers, steamed and then plunged in tare sauce a number of times before being grilled again. Once cooked, the eel is placed on a bed of rice in a lacquered box. The taste and texture are simply spectacular being tender, caramelized and grilled all at the same time. It is one of these memorable dishes that you won’t forget but so hard to replicate.
Joji Sakurai wrote a fantastic article called On The Trail of Unagi in Tokyo for Momentum Travel where he describes his experience in this more than often overpass Unagi restaurant called Hashimoto . Hashimoto has been family run over generation managed to get a Michelin star by serving Unagi only. Check out the video and you will see what he is talking about. This will definitely be in my restaurant bucket list.
Hashimoto is located at 2-5-7 Suido, Bunkyo-ku, about three minutes on foot from Edogawabashi station on Tokyo’s Yurakucho Line. Tel: +81 (3) 3811 4850.