[Shanghai] Unagi 大味鳗
Unagi 大味鳗 | Dianping
Address: 乌鲁木齐中路342号(近复兴西路) – 342 Wulumuqi Lu near Fuxing Xi Lu (徐汇区 Xuhui District)
Date visited: 2014.07 for dinner
Price: RMB¥70/100/150 for eel rice bowls; RMB¥40-55 for pork, chicken, curry bowls
Will return: Unlikely
Unagi 大味鳗 (“da wei man” or big big flavored eel) serves eel rice as well as pork, chicken, and curry bowls. Unagi is by the same owner as Jianguo 建国 328, which I am lukewarm about despite devoted locals and expats alike. The good thing about both places is that they are clean and there is no MSG in the dishes; this is something to appreciate towards these small shops that aim to bring local flavors to us safely in Shanghai. As far as the eel rice goes, a little overpriced for what it is.
Bar seats are on the first floor and tables are on the second floor. During this visit, they did not have enough staff to wait upstairs so everyone was seated downstairs. The staff is very nice.
Cold Tofu (RMB¥18)
The sauce was not flavorful enough to enhance the plain tofu. I actually thought the tangy sauce in the slaw side dish, which comes with the eel rice set, complemented the tofu more.
Eel Rice of Nogoya Style (RMB¥150)
Eel rice sets come in three prices here: RMB¥150 for Nagoya style eel rice in a wooden bucket with broth in a teapot, RMB¥100 for large eel rice bowl without broth, and RMB¥70 for small eel rice bowl without broth. As far as the different eel rice prices go, the menu doesn’t state whether the eel is the same or different. If the RMB¥50 difference between the Nagoya style eel rice and the regular eel rice is due to the broth, then I am speechless. Because the extra broth does not add any value for me let alone extra RMB¥50 worth. That price could have gotten me a regular eel bowl and perhaps a tonkatsu or curry bowl.
For this price, I was expecting the type of eel they serve at omakase sushi places but I suppose my expectations were too high. This is definitely better than what they have at some of the Japanese-style chain restaurants here but I am not convinced the RMB¥150 price tag is justified. If I come back, I would just get the regular eel rice without the broth.
When the tray came to our table, I immediately noticed that the “wasabi” is the kind that you either squeeze out of a tube or mix water with powder to create, not freshly grated from a wasabi root. The “wasabi” was literally a pool of sticky goo. Many chains serve low quality wasabi but they are at least in solid form; this pile of goo is just offensive.
The suggest method of eating the Nagoya style eel rice is:
1. Eat eel and rice as it is – which tastes good by itself
2. Mix seaweed, sesame, scallion, and wasabi into eel rice and eat – which also tastes good (minus the “wasabi” that I did not touch)
3. Pour broth and mix with remaining eel rice and eat – which does not taste good. I feel like I am just making rice soup (泡饭) and diluting the sweet sauce to nothing. Again, I don’t find the broth to be very helpful so I really don’t need it, let alone pay extra RMB¥50 for it.
Sets come with chawanmushi (steamed egg) and a few small dishes such as slaw and pickled vegetables.