Wild Eel in April at Obana (Tokyo)
We are going to Obana in April and was curious if they will offer wild eel, not farmed. We would prefer to try wild eel, but understand that the season in more towards the summer. Thanks for your help,
I believe all their eel is wild caught throughout the year. And you should get it while you still can. The news of the last couple years is that many unagi restaurants throughout Japan have been shutting down because of the prohibitive cost of locally caught unagi, which the consumers are also avoiding. I checked out Tabelog's menu for Obana and saw that their unaju is priced at 4500-5500 yen (roughly $48-58). That's about double the price (probably more) that I remember paying when I went there several years ago.
Last time I was at Obana there no wild eel was available. It used to be all wild caught, but not any more. And definitely not at that price. I was kind of irritated the last time I went there because they switched to farm raised unagi but didn't lower the prices, which at the time was ridiculous for farm raised unagi. As E Eto said, there is a big shortage of unagi and wild unagi is very difficult to come by these days. I had wild unagi last year at Nodaiwa, and they only had two wild eels in-house. The small one was ¥7500 and the larger one which I ate was ¥9200. I personally think the unagi at Obana is superior to that of Nodaiwa, but in either case you should call in advance and reserve wild unagi if you have your heart set on it. Eating wild unagi is starting to become like eating a unicorn - don't expect to walk in anywhere and see it on the menu.