A while ago I got a ping from The Man in the White T-Shirt, asking whether I'd like to join him for a special lunch. Apparently Godenya (ごでんや) is doing a guest chef/pop-up featuring Japanese eel, and knowing how much I love Japanese eel, he thought I'd be game for it. Well, the timing was a little awkward, and it would mean not having a regularly scheduled lunch and dinner, but as I've turned down a number of his invitations lately, I figured I'd better accept this particular one.
I've never been to Godenya even though a number of friends have told me about it. The place is pretty much a hole-in-the wall... One needs to walk down a back alley and enter through an unmarked back entrance of an old building, and besides the street number - which was not visible anywhere - the only hint that there was a Japanese restaurant was the presence of white noren (暖簾) above what turned out to be a wooden sliding door.
Upon entering the restaurant, I took my seat at one end of the wooden counter - not surprisingly made of one long piece of wood. The counter only seats 6, and there was a table of two set up behind us. Until their private room is ready, this is it in terms of seats. No wonder that the place is fully booked until next February...
Today's meal is a one-day pop-up by Ryo (翏), a restaurant specializing in eel in Naka-meguro (中目黒), Tokyo. The young chef and the lady who "kinda feels like a wife" from the restaurant were in charge of the kitchen, while master of the house Goshima Shinya (五嶋慎也) took care of the sake pairings.
The eels are wild, and comes from Hachirogata (八郎潟) in Akita Prefecture (秋田県). The ones today weigh around 1.2kg. This is the best season for eel as they are at their fattest, and soon they will swim out to the ocean in winter and disappear.