If there’s one thing I learned from last month’s meal at Ryo, it’s that eel. is. good. I needed more and decided to check out Hashimoto. Located in a very quiet neighborhood somewhere between Nagatacho and Ikebukuro, Hashimoto was established in 1835 and is run by a sixth-generation owner and chef.
The scent of grilled unagi wafts outside and upon sliding the front door open, it feels like you are entering a traditional Japanese home somewhere far away from Tokyo’s bright lights. It’s a very casual restaurant and only offers about 10 items on an a la carte menu. Unlike most Michelin-starred restaurants, there is no course menu, no service charge, a concise, if not limited, selection of libations, and zero sense of pretentiousness or stuffiness. Rather, the service is attentive and the eel is given its proper space to shine. From the fact that almost every item contains eel in some form, to the “Unagi Washoku” posters on the walls, there is no doubt that this is a dining destination for the eel purist (do those exist?).
And it’s one of Japan’s cheapest Michelin restaurants, too. The most expensive item, the unagi-ju jou, is only 3300 yen and most drinks are 700 or 800 yen. With sake and all the food below, our bill came out to under 13,000 yen. Not bad at all for expertly prepared eel with a nearly 200 year-old history.
Let’s eat Hashimoto!