We prepare our dishes in the Edomae or Tokyo style. A live eel is slaughtered and carved, the meat is then grilled and steamed. Before being dripped in sauce and lightly browned under the grill.
Experienced eel chefs are known to say that, while it only takes eleven years to prefect the process of carving eel, perfecting the art of grilling takes a lifetime.
The road to becoming a master chef is an unforgiving one.
By all accounts, grilling truly is difficult enough to warrant a lifetime of study and practice.
In order to cook the seasoning properly, the eel itself must first be perfectly grilled.
In order to perfectly roast the eel, it must have been skewered accurately.
In order to accurately skewer an eel, it must have been torn correctly.
In order to tear the eel correctly...
As each stage builds on the previous one there is no room for error.
I sometimes wonder if the statement ‘Perfecting the art of grilling takes a lifetime’ is intended as a catch all and includes the other stages in the process of cooking eels or if the grilling alone is that difficult. Regardless we have no choice but to press on. Reminding ourselves of our commitment to make good on our promise of perfection everyday.
All of our eels are locally sourced here in Japan. To ensure freshness, the eels are kept alive until the very last moment before preparation.
The live eels are kept in columns of stacking baskets with natural spring water from our local area. Cool water flows continuously into the uppermost container where it pools before flowing into the next. Swimming in these small areas of flowing water the eels are able to survive, ensuring they stay fresh until served. It is possible for visitors to our restaurants to see this in action.
Said to be the one thing that the staff would save during a fire. The restaurant has been using this sauce since its inception. People will sometimes joke: “You’re serving us one hundred years old sauce?!”, however in practice, our entire stock is turned over every few months.
The original sauce vs the modern.
You would expect that our sauce would have changed substantially.
However, even though the sauce is continually used and replenished. The passion of the original creators remains.
None of our eel is ever or will ever be served to a customer without a thick layer tare sauce.
The creation and application of the sauce is a foundational tradition of our restaurant that can still be seen today.
All of our rice is of the Koshihikari variety produced in Uonuma city, Niigata prefecture. We are proud to say that it includes rice from the famous Irihirose village. The rice from Irihirose is exclusively grown on the mountainside, between two hundred and three hundred meters above sea level in areas that experience at least three meters of snow each winter. The snowmelt drains through the rice crop providing natural irrigation. While the sharp difference in temperatures between night and day during the summer, serve to ripen the rice to a height of sweetness and umami.
After harvesting the rice is stored in an Yukimuro, literally ""snow house"", which are an iglu like structure built from snow, refrigerating and keeping the rice fresh until it is served.
Our eels are cooked using Binchō-tan charcoal, widely considered the best in the world.
As the sauce covered eels are roasted over the charcoal, the meat on the surface sears and traps the fat and flavour within. The result is a crispy outside, coating a soft and delicious core.