Any Bay Area recommendations for grilled eel (non-marinated)?

Asking for a friend (really!)
There’s many places with unagi in sushi and izakaya contexts but are there any recommendations for places that have eels simply grilled (without the sweet marinade) or prepped in an otherwise different way?

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If memory serves me right, the Mountain View Buddhist temple Obon festival (July or Aug) serves unagi with very little, light sauce or none. It was very pale compared to the dark lacquered stuff and I don’ t remember the sauce. But it was so long ago, and things change, and it’s not a restaurant, so who knows.

Perhaps grill your own? Or find a Japanese restaurant that would prep it that way on request?

I might check out some of the Korean BBQ spots. I’m not up on those in SF at the moment but it’s a more common dish down these parts (LA Koreatown).

Kong Tofu in Cupertino had 장어돌솥 (Hot Stone Bibimbap with Eel) on the menu, which we’ll probably try at some point, but my hunch is that it will also be marinated. Is there a different Korean eel dish to look out for?

well I’ve seen a few different kinds…

one kind is just basic snake on the grill for lack of a better explanation (ok, it’s called “sea eel”)

for example at DaeBuDo, you can get this…

Soot Bull Jeep does it this way, akin to spicy pork and chicken…

I may be wrong but Soot Bull Jeep may also do it the plain way, it’s been a while (and I got these photos from yelp).

Certainly not every place in Ktown here has it, but it’s not super uncommon and hope that’s helpful.

A quick google for SF seems to suggest that Jang Soo BBQ up on Geary and Han Il Kwan (Richmond) have some some kind of grilled eel on the menu, maybe there are more spots that do it. I’ve not been to either restaurant.

Good luck!

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Might not work since it’s part of a (very good) tasting menu, but the eel dish at SSAL is one of my favorites.

Otherwise, better Japanese/sushi places have eel (usually anago) on the menu which is just grilled or with just a paint of sauce.

A few of these examples that come to mind:

  • Wako has a chawan mushi with pike eel and uni which is great.
  • My ‘local’ sushi place Kuma regularly has anago nigiri on the menu which includes just a paint of sauce.
  • Akiko’s Restaurant has good eel (both types sometimes depending on season) nigiri.

There’s more out there like that, just have to search.

I feel like I’m forgetting a non-Asian place which had a good eel dish. I’ll look through some photos and respond if I find it.

Several different preps of eel at Ozumo on Santana Row in San Jose.

Start at the 11:25 mark for the restaurant segment.

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Just to clarify here — those “eel” preparations aren’t on the menu and you can’t get them. Matts (“famous” local youtuber) caught some monkeyface (not an actual eel but popular with the local fisher youtubers cause easy to catch via poke pole) and brought it to a friend who works at Ozumo to prepare a few dishes.

I’ve only ever heard of regular unagi nigiri at Ozumo.

Chome has American Unagi eel on the menu. It’s their smoked product and simply grilled with a touch of sauce (our server said they’d make even bigger pieces and no sauce if you want.

Or your friend could just order from American? Their product is nice.

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It’s smoked, not grilled…all their products are superb really, and for the price they damn well ought to be.

“The cool, clear waters of New Zealand’s lakes and rivers produce the most succulent eel imaginable. The moist, meaty fillets are hot-smoked in France for a silken texture.”



Can order online or dine in in WeHo, 321 North Robertson Boulevard

A bit far away for a Bay area request

I came across it in my inbox and thought it might be appreciated by folks who can order online to their homes via the link above.