Today in Milan, eating traditional Japanese home cooking has become difficult. After almost twenty years, fixed-price restaurants are back in fashion and the few "homely" are struggling to renew themselves, the menus are often too simple (and definitely too expensive) with the consequent downside of not being interesting even for Japanese - who prepare this type of recipes every day already at home, as they are not preparations to be consumed in restaurants.
In an area that is extremely dear to me (Chinatown), where in recent times the nightlife and shopping are rampant, a new venue has just opened in silent opening that gives me great hope: Emoraya, the "place of emotion".
This is an extremely interesting project, conceived and created by Takato Sato (elegant and enthusiastic director, who will pamper you with a smile during your meal with great pride) and the young and talented chef Shun Himeno, both former Gastronomia Yamamoto. If at first glance you seem to find mum's usual cuisine, well you are wrong, because here mum is certainly a refined chef!
The detachment from all the other realities that offer the same type of cuisine in the city is evident: the environment is minimal but welcoming, warmed by wooden furniture, the elegant Uzu ceramics, the room staff is attentive and prepared and the menu has many subtleties, such as fish-based preparations worthy of a high-end restaurant and certainly not of home cooking.
The chef, originally from Ōita (city of Kyūshū, Japan), is now finally free to wander around the kitchen with his talent and to put all the legacy of his land of origin into it. A few examples? I recommend you to try the karaage, previously marinated fried chicken leg, whose crunchy and at the same time juicy texture will surprise you. Or the imposing kaisen don, a bowl of rice topped with sliced raw fish seasoned with soy sauce and ginger (i.e. ryukyu, a typical Ōita preparation).
Unadon is also incredible, the eel lacquered on rice elegantly presented with hot fish broth on the side: you can eat it alone, or cover it with this delicious hot broth - I loved this second option. I emphasize that in accordance with the principles of traditional Japanese cuisine (washoku), great attention is paid to waste here too: this fragrant and comfortable broth is prepared with the fish waste used for other preparations.
A small bowl of fresh cucumber with wasabi is served with the eel.
Even the apparently more mundane dishes are made with particular attention, such as the classic potato salad served here with half a marinated stewed egg (the same you find in ramen) and topped with fresh cucumber and chives.
For dessert, the delicious hot zenzai: sweet soup of azuki and mochi with slices of persimmon, true comfort food!
To accompany everything, a small but refined proposal of sake or Japanese beers. As a welcome, excellent hot green tea is served.
I have decided to enjoy some à la carte dishes, but it is possible to choose a tasting menu with a really fair price - like the rest of the à la carte proposal, at Emoraya you will find good value for money.
Among the other dishes that struck me and that I would like to try soon: the soba in broth with chicken, the pork soup with vegetables, the stewed amberjack with daikon and the beef steak.
At noon, instead, teishoku is offered, which is the set including a main course, miso soup and other small accompanying dishes. In this formula there are great classics such as curry rice, grilled salmon, sandwich with marinated fried chicken (here garnished with a delicious tartar sauce, therefore in a nanban version) or vegetables or tofu.
My experience at Emoraya, as you may have understood, was more than positive. In Chinatown there were no traditional Japanese restaurants: with this new opening we now finally have an important point of reference. Really well done to the whole team!
📍 Piazza Antonio Baiamonti 2, Milan