Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on January 2009
Located on a quiet side street just a minute or two from the boisterous crowds and hawking rickshaw drivers of Sensoji Temple, Edosada is a small, modest restaurant specializing in kamameshi, a simple rice dish that resembles paella.
Kamameshi was invented in Asakusa some 100 years ago, and for three generations Edosada has been the dish’s 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. Edosada’s signature dish is the go-moku combination (¥1,050) made with chicken broth, minced chicken, bright green snow peas, red shrimp, bamboo shoots, and shiitake mushrooms.
Kamameshi is always made from scratch here and takes 20 minutes to cook. While you’re waiting, try recommended starters like the kani salad, with two strips of sweet crab meat, cherry tomatoes and mixed lettuce in a creamy dressing (¥730), or the bei-nasu dengaku, a “Western” eggplant grilled with a sweet miso and minced pork topping (¥630). Use the toothed grapefruit spoon to dig out the luscious flesh.
The decor at Edosada is classic, 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 trays 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.
To accompany the kamameshi, try the miso soup with nameko mushrooms (¥360) and the housemade pickles, nicely crisp and not too salty (¥420). If you’re still hungry, check the “If You Want a Little More…” section of the menu for the green tea ice cream (¥360), served with a small square of mille-feuille cake.
Edosada pays attention to details. The error-free English menu asserts that only the best ingredients are used, like Koshihikari rice or alkaline water from Kannon onsen in Shimoda. At the end of the meal, you’ll be served a cup of green tea, and should it be neglected during postprandial conversation and grow tepid, your waitress will notice and bring you a fresh hot cup.