My friend in Toyko knew that I love Grilled eels on rice and she strongly recommended me to try this restaurant in Nagoya. So this last April, on my way from Osaka to Tokyo on JR, I stopped by Nagoya for four hours just to see how good it is. The restaurant has four branches, two in the Matsuzakaya Department Store and the other two are free standing shops in the same negihborhood. I went to the second oldest shop and atlas, when I arrived, I found the shop was closed on that day of the week (which is not unusual in Japan and on this, please make sure you check beforehand in similar endeavours in the future to avoid disappointment). In despair, I talked to a passerby who happened to understand English and he pointed me to a flyover close by and said the oldest shop Atsuta Horaiken Honten was within walking distance. It only took me fifteen minutes to walk there. Glad that it was open for business (so they close on different days of the week so that one could always find one that opens). It is an old Japanese styled house with a little court yard at the entrance. Since I knew that this place is well patronized most of the time, I had chosen before I started my journey to have early dinner at 5+pm to avoid the crowd. I was one of the first guests to arrive and was shown to a G/F section with only four tables and a nice view of the garden at the back. I had to sit tatami style on a thin cushion on the floor. I ordered the one and a half portion of Grilled eel and rice, and a dish of grilled eel liver. They were fantastic!!! The really tasty grilled eels covered the entire big bowl and they were crispy on the outside and tender within. The rice was superbly cooked and chewy. I had done my homework before I came and knew that there are four suggested ways to consume the meal : 1. Put the first quarter of the big bowl of eel rice into a small bowl and taste its original flavour. 2. There is a small dish of chopped green onion and dried sea weed slivers in the meal tray (some wasabi too if you like it), so mix well the second quarter of the big bowl with these two condiments again in the small bowl before you consume it . 3. There is a jug of tea broth in the tray so mix the third quarter of the bowl with this liquid (just enough tea to cover the rice in the small bowl will do) and try a different flavour. 4. After tasting it the above three ways, devour the remaining quarter in the way that you liked most. For me, mixing the grilled eel and rice with green onion and seaweed suited me most although I think that you would not lose much if you stick to just eating the whole thing without any variations. The grilled eel liver was also good but may not be everybody's liking. The servers in kimono were pleasant and unobtrusive. This place is definitely worth another visit in the future.
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