Hitsumabushi at Sagami - Irvine
You'd be right in thinking that Sagami is another teriyaki and California roll lunch box factory; but you'd be only 10% right. The other 90% is what makes Sagami beloved among actual Japanese people. There are seasonal lunch special bentos that change, well, seasonally. Last fall, I had a mench katsu teisyoku there, the closest thing Japan has to a country fried steak, except lighter, crispier and eaten with plenty of rice.
Then there's the Nagoya-style dishes that turn this small space next to Subway as serious a temple to tradition as the sandwich shop is to the opposite. Try the hitsumabushi, roasted eel on rice served in a wide-brimmed bowl that you eat in three stages: first with just the rice; second with a sprinkle of nori, scallions, and wasabi; then, finally, with dashi broth for the finish.
Be forewarned. It is an expensive dish at $18.95. But when you consider that this is quite possibly the only place in Orange County that serves this dish, there's really only one other alternative: make it yourself.
If you'd rather go with that option, I turn you to Francis, who will also show you how to eat it. See below:
3850 Barranca Pkwy
Irvine, CA 92606
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