On my last birthday Jean took me to one of the most interesting restaurants here in town at Makoto Japanese Cuisine at Hartamas.
I’m pretty sure most of us who are fans of Japanese food is familiar with unagi, or freshwater eel, often served on rice bowl or sushi in a teriyaki sauce. Well, the secret is, most of the time they’re frozen and some are even pre-cooked (you can buy them at grocers’ frozen section).
Here at Makoto Japanese Cuisine though, they have these eels live, like, swimmingly alive.
While they have a menu that’s quite extensive that includes zensai (appetizer), salad, sushi, and sashimi, the highlight here is undoubtedly the eel, which takes up half their menu pages (see below).
So if you are there, ordering unagi you must.
For lunch, we ordered the Makoto Unaju Special (RM 183) with unagi liver soup, Umaki (unagi egg omelette, RM 49), and Hone Senbei (deep fried unagi bone, RM 10).
The server also showed us the live eel (see video above), a bit morbid considering they’ll be slaughtered pretty soon for our dining pleasure, and yes, that is done in plain view too.
We started out with the unagi omelet, which unsurprisingly turned out to be one of the most creamy, fluffy, and rich omelet I’ve tasted. You can argue the price is a tad high for an omelet, but that quality is undeniable.
The fried unagi bones were actually quite fun to eat, it was crunchy as you’d expect, and would have been perfect with a glass of cold Asahi for sure.
Then came the unaju special, half portion of unagi kabayaki with unagi sauce, and another half unagi shirayaki without any sauce, the best of both worlds. It was certainly an experience, having unagi fresh vs the “normal” type is not entirely unlike having fresh mushroom vs the canned version, it was more subtle, smooth, and comes with a hint of natural sweetness.
My advise is to at least give the one without sauce a try, I ended up enjoying the subtle taste of eel quite a bit more, highlighted with a tad of wasabi, and balanced with some of their delightful pickles.
Oh, also definitely go for unagi liver soup (not always available), the liver gives the soup that extra dimension, and if you’re a fan of that extra burst of complexity and umami only innards can give, you’ll thank me for it.
Thanks to my wife for bringing me to this new experience 🙂