On a quiet side street, a minute or two from the boisterous pressing crowds and hawking rickshaw drivers of Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, is Edosada, a small modest restaurant specializing in kamameshi, a simple rice dish sort of like paella.
Kamameshi was invented in Asakusa some hundred years ago—not by Edosada, but for three generations it’s been a standard bearer serving good, solid, unflashy food made with care and pride.
As with paella, kamameshi can be prepared with various extras cooked with the rice in its individual kama pot, but Edosada’s signature dish is the go moku combination (1050 yen) made with chicken broth, minced chicken, a bright green snow pea, a red shrimp, bamboo shoots, and a shiitake mushroom.
Kamameshi is always made from scratch here and takes 20 minutes to cook. Recommended starters while you wait are the kani salad (730 yen) with its two strips of sweet crab meat, cherry tomatoes and mix of lettuces in a creamy dressing, or the bei nasu dengaku, a “western” eggplant (630 yen) grilled with a sweet miso and minced pork topping. Use the toothed grapefruit spoon to dig out the luscious flesh.
The decor at Edosada is classic, old school with shoji screens, wood accents, an indoor rock garden, and a raised tatami area if you prefer zabuton seating. A tape of koto music plays softly in the background. The waitresses, smart in their dark uniforms with white cotton collars and aprons, are friendly and efficient.
Eventually, your kamameshi will be brought to the table. The wooden kama lids and box-like holders have been used so long and washed so often they’ve taken on the silky patina of driftwood.
Lift the lid to release a fragrant waft of steam and you’ll see inside each kernel of rice glistening, plump and tawny, under the artfully arranged toppings. Don’t be afraid to dig in with the sturdy spoon to get to the caramelized bits at the bottom of the kama.
Along with the kamameshi, try the miso soup with nameko mushrooms (360 yen) and the house-made pickles, nicely crisp and not too salty (420 yen).
If you’re still hungry, check the “If You Want a Little More…” section of the menu for the Green Tea ice cream (360 yen), served with a small square of mille feuille cake.
Edosada pays attention to details. It promises in its error-free English menu to use only the best ingredients such as Koshihikari rice or alkaline water from Kannon Hot Spring in Shimoda. At the end of the meal, you’ll be served a cup of green tea, and should it be neglected during conversation and grow tepid, your waitress will notice and bring you fresh hot cup.
For the complete Edosada review, and more of my reviews, follow this link to Metropolis Magazine: www.metropolis.co.jp/dining/restaurant-reviews/edosada
1-8-6 Asakusa, Taito-ku. Tel: 03-3844-0505. Monday to Friday: 11:30am to 9pm. Saturday/Sundays/Holidays: 11:30am to 8:45pm. www.edosada.com