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

tu_triky Dec 3, 2009 11:07 AM

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. s
    silverlakebodhisattva RE: tu_triky Dec 3, 2009 03:13 PM

    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
      tu_triky RE: silverlakebodhisattva Dec 4, 2009 07:07 AM

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

    2. J.L. RE: tu_triky Dec 3, 2009 04:41 PM

      Place Yuu, on Sawtelle.

      Place Yuu
      2101 Sawtelle Bl.

      1 Reply
      1. re: J.L.
        tu_triky RE: J.L. Dec 4, 2009 07:08 AM

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

      2. tu_triky RE: cls Dec 4, 2009 07:11 AM

        I don't find it hard to believe you...that's why I enjoy going to Japan...the food is sublime.

        1. c
          crystaw RE: tu_triky Dec 3, 2009 07:46 PM

          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
            tu_triky RE: crystaw Dec 4, 2009 07:06 AM

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

            1. re: tu_triky
              K K RE: tu_triky Dec 4, 2009 03:01 PM

              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. ipsedixit RE: tu_triky Dec 4, 2009 11:32 AM


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

            2 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit
              J.L. RE: ipsedixit Dec 4, 2009 02:08 PM

              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.
                ipsedixit RE: J.L. Dec 4, 2009 05:30 PM

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

            2. j
              Jerome RE: tu_triky Dec 5, 2009 11:59 PM

              kyushu ramen has unadon i believe.

              now where can I get kamameshi?

              2 Replies
              1. re: Jerome
                tu_triky RE: Jerome Dec 6, 2009 11:51 AM

                There's a place up in the Bay if you're ever in there


                1. re: Jerome
                  exilekiss RE: Jerome Dec 7, 2009 12:33 PM

                  Hi Jerome,

                  Kappo Hana has some good Kamameshi offerings. :)


                  Kappo Hana
                  25260 La Paz Rd A, Laguna Hills, CA 92653

                2. Dommy RE: tu_triky Dec 6, 2009 08:19 PM

                  Otafuku in Gardena does awesome fresh seafood over rice dishes.... but my favorite eel dish there is their Eel Tempura... truly a thing of beauty...



                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Dommy
                    E Eto RE: Dommy Dec 6, 2009 08:47 PM

                    That's anago tempura. Not unagi, which wouldn't be used for tempura. Different species of eel. I do love me some anago tempura, but apples and oranges when compared to una-don.

                    1. re: E Eto
                      Dommy RE: E Eto Dec 6, 2009 09:35 PM

                      Thanks! I had no idea... :)

                    2. re: Dommy
                      J.L. RE: Dommy Dec 6, 2009 11:26 PM

                      Anago: Saltwater eel
                      Unagi: Freshwater eel

                      1. re: J.L.
                        nomo_fan RE: J.L. Dec 7, 2009 04:41 AM

                        for a very different take on unagi-don, go to Duck House in Monterey Park and order their eel over sweet rice. Delicious.
                        I've actually never had good eel in a restaurant in Los Angeles. For me, go to Marukai, buy the best eel in the seafood section, buy some sauce, buy some takuan, go home and cook some rice, and you'll get a great unagi-don for cheap

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