After a visit to the Tokyo National Museum, Jenkins and I walked about 10 minutes to Izuei Honten for a late lunch. I first found out about Izuei Honten via Paul’s blog where he shared his Tokyo eating adventures. After this initial discovery, I found many more positive reviews of Izuei Honten and since it happened to be near our sightseeing path, we decided to make it one of our stops. Izuei Honten’s claim to fame is that it has been making unagi for over 260 years. The restaurant itself is housed in a newer building these days and has seven floors all serving its signature item: unagi.
After doing a little research, I stumbled across a coupon on Izuei Honten’s English website that gives you a free drink if you pay cash for your meal. Since there were two of us dining that day, Jenkins and I were given a large bottle of Asahi beer to share.
After a bit of deliberation, Jenkins and I finally decided on what we would order. Jenkins was feeling a bit girly that day so he ordered the himejyu, also known as the Princess Meal. Along with the unagi don came an assortment of seafood, tofu, veggies, and other goodies (middle bowl in the picture below). There was also a bowl of eel liver soup accompanying the meal. This meal set cost ¥3360, which was a bit of a splurge for us but you did get a lot of food. The veggies and seafood provided some nice variety and although tasty, the real star of the show was obviously the unagi. It was perfectly grilled and had just the right combination of sweetness and umami. To be perfectly honest, I think Jenkins would have been happy if all he had ordered was the unagi don on its own. Jenkins raved about how the rice was perfectly flavoured by the unagi and had the right texture.
Perhaps buoyed by Jenkins’ choice, I also decided to go for a larger meal set and chose the Unatoro Ju (?2835, eel yum box according to the menu translation). Along with my unagi don came a grated yam soup, sashimi, pickles, and eel liver soup.
I don’t really know what I was expecting with the tororo (grated yam soup with dashi) but I didn’t really like it. The texture was slightly slimy and served cold. Perhaps it is an acquired taste.
Although not as good as the maguro we had at Sushi Dai, the maguro served here was still very fresh and flavourful. It went really well with a bit of fresh wasabi and a touch of soy.
Similar to Jenkins’ unagi don, mine was definitely the star of my meal set. Resting on top of perfectly made rice, the unagi was delicious and flavourful. The rice was great on its own and the unagi only made it better. The next time I come back, I would be happy just ordering this on its own.
Jenkins and I had a great time at Izuei Honten. After tasting the unagi here, it is going to be difficult to find another place that can compare…especially outside of Japan! I should also note that the staff were very friendly and patient with us.
2-12-22 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0005