Saturday, August 20, 2011
TOKYO 2011: Izuei Honten @ Ueno
It's not easy to find Izuei Honten. But we are determined to find it. After all, it's not everyday that you read so much about one particular Unagi restaurant in blogs and travel guides and how good the unagi is and what a long history it has.
There are enough instructions and history on internet about Izuei Honten, but a quick summary is that it has been around since the mid-Edo period and that makes it about 150 years old, if not older. They have a few branch but the main one is at Ueno, and their flagship shop here is only 10 minutes walk from the Ueno JR station.
I have read so much about having to queue up and ask for table and wait for 20 minutes. But the weird thing is when I arrived, we were whisked away into the restaurant's own private lift to upstairs (probably 3rd or 4th floor) into their private room. The aunty waitress will speak lot's of Japanese. If you don't know, don't worry. Just tell her you want an "English menu", and she will bring you one.
Everything on the menu has unagi on it, and it depends on how much unagi you want. For diners who want variety, I suggest you order this Shinobazu Bento.
As you can see, the Shinobazu Bento (4,200 yen) comes with 1.5 pieces of fatty unagi and rice below, plus sashimi and some little bento items. Everything was delicious. More on the unagi later.
For those who wants nothing but the real deal, and you want an "up-sized" version, please order the Prince Box.
This, is the real deal. The Prince Box (4,725) is actually a double portion bento. But first, the unagi here is absolutely wonderful. The flesh is sweet, smooth and very tasty with the charred taste. Rice is fluffy and even the small bones in the unagi is a joy to eat.
The Prince Box actually has layers. So you get 4 huge pieces of unagi, plus 2 layers of Japanese rice. Please be warned that you should be very hungry before ordering this. Even for big eaters like me, it took a lot of skills to finish the entire double layer bento.
at 2:30 PM