17 January 2015
I had a nasty hangover this morning as I fought through both wee jetlag (not too bad, as it was going west…) and way too much mixing of booze last night after the amazing double steak dinner at Satou. But I forced myself active and before exploring several gardens and temple complexes in the afternoon, I headed to Nodaiwa [野田岩] for lunch.
Nodaiwa is a legendary eel restaurant, and I was going to the original. It has a Michelin star, but not sure what it was for. It is a tourist trap in many ways, also catering much to its legend — so the internal Japanese tourism market loves this.
The first course of my set menu today was the starter, which was focused on the jellied eel.
Not bad, much better than your London equivalent! After a bit of time (which I didn’t mind) as I enjoyed some beer, the next dish came, the shirayaki.
This place is famous for this dish, the simple, un-sauced grilled eel. I used both salt and wasabi for this. Nice, and as an eel purist this is wonderful.
I drank more beer and took awhile before the next dish came, the traditional chawanmushi.
This egg custard was nice, though a little under-seasoned. It was strewn with eel and also sharkfin, which was a nice touch. I may have opened it too early as I lost patience waiting…
Finally then after another rather long wait I had the main course, the unaju.
The eel over rice was good, but nothing special. The soup with eel liver was also under-seasoned. It seems this place is way too neutral on tastes…
I finished the food and found my way out soon, as it was too warm inside. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything special. The eel was pretty ordinary, both the shirayaki and the unaju. Could have been plumper certainly, as these looked very thin (odd considering it’s winter). Oh well…
I needed the fuel to go exploring Zojo-ji and also the Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden, so it did its job. However, I’d say this is a good place to avoid unless you like the overhyped tourist trap for the sole purpose of going somewhere with a history…and a 10% service charge for pretty off service…
1-5-4 Higashiazabu, Minato-ku