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Dec 3, 2009 11:07 AM

Recommendations for restaurants that serve good Unagi-ju (Eel over rice)?

What's up 'Hounds. Just throwing out the above request to see if there are any lovers of Japanese food that have any suggestions for restaurants that serve a good unagi-ju. As many Japanese food lovers in L.A. might know by way of personal experience or otherwise, a lot of the eel dishes are far from superlative and have that frozen food taste. I recently came back from Osaka and had the best Kansai-style "Mamushi" (eel over rice) in my life. Any input is appreciated.

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  1. I've had Izayoi's a couple of times, and it reminded me of what I had in Kyoto.

    R Gould-Saltman

    1 Reply
    1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

      Thanks silverlake. I know where that place is but I've actually never been...surprisingly given my love for Japanese food.

    2. Place Yuu, on Sawtelle.

      Place Yuu
      2101 Sawtelle Bl.

      1 Reply
      1. re: J.L.

        Place Yuu on the Westside...thanks JL I'll make a note of it.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. I don't find it hard to believe you...that's why I enjoy going to Japan...the food is sublime.

        2. This is an OC rec if you're ever in that area-but check out Fukada in Irvine. It's called unagi don there so I'm not sure if there's a major difference between that and unagu ju.

          2 Replies
          1. re: crystaw

            Thanks crystaw, Unagi ju and Unagi don are actually the same thing. Thanks for the recommendations.

            1. re: tu_triky

              From WIKIpedia

              An Unadon (鰻丼 lit. "eel bowl", less commonly spelled "unagidon") is a popular donburi (rice bowl) dish made with unagi kabayaki, grilled eel coated with a sweet sauce.

              Variations include unajū (鰻重, a very similar dish served in a black box rather than a donburi bowl).
              Some variations of unadon (and this really depends on the restaurant) include unagi with runny egg, and those versions with egg and scallions (and maybe even a little gobo/burdock) are unagi yanagawa (closer to the steamed "mushi" version per OP) .

              Unaju is always just straight grilled eel over rice with sauce. If it is an authentic place like the ones in Tokyo or Taipei (ie the unagi ryori specialists), the fresh eels are gutted/cleaned, then first grilled, then steamed, then re-grilled again. This serves to remove excess fat, but yet keeps the outer layer flakey, toasty, crispy, and the interior moist and juicy. Those specialist restaurants should also offer unagi shirayaki, a variant without sauce. Bottom line, the specialist restaurant should also offer sansho as a condiment, as it elevates the taste to greater heights (regular unaju or unagi shirayaki, although yuzugosho works good too).

              So now the next question is, any restaurants in LA that do those styles, using fresh eel (either local or imported from Japan) and preferrably eels prepped from scratch?

              If an una-don interpretation contains broccoli, carrots, and sickly sweet teriyaki sauce, run away like Forrest Gump.

          2. SinBaLa.

            Sure it's a Taiwanese joint, but weren't the first settlers of Formosa from Japan? :-)

            2 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              At SinBaLa? Really? I thought I had eaten through their entire (vast) menu already (that took like 8 visits), yet I've never encountered eel over rice before... Oh, well, another excuse to go back!

              Thanks ipse!

              1. re: J.L.

                If I recall correctly, the eel over rice is either the second or third item on the menu under the rice dishes section.