Esora is currently offering diners its new Spring 2023 menu. Head chef Takeshi Araki prepares his signature donabe with hokkigai (surf clams) from the coast of Aomori, one of the most popular clam varieties of the region. Rice is first steamed in the donabe with clam stock made with clams and konbu. Young ginger, chives and fried kureson (watercress) pickled with soy sauce are placed on top, followed by bincho-grilled hokkigai and uni.
The chef changes the donabe ingredients based on the seasons. For his last winter menu (pictured), he prepared premium koshihikari rice in a crab stock made of konbu dashi, crab shell, carrots, celery and onions. The rice is topped with sweet, delicate Matsuba-gani (snow crabs) from Tottori prefecture, and a sprinkling of chives and yuzu zest. The donabe is covered with a crab shell and presented to guests before being portioned out into individual bowls. Winter white truffle shavings are available as a top-up option.
In summer, he drew inspiration from the Natsu Matsuri (summer festivals) in Japan, where popular snacks like yakitori are brushed and grilled with tare-sauce with egg yolks. Here, the rice is cooked with konbu dashi, then covered with oba leaves, chives, sesame, and young ginger. Kinmedai (golden eye snapper) is grilled tataki-style on a skewer, and brushed with house-made tare-style yakitori sauce with egg yolk. The dish is finally crowned with seaweed and uni. In autumn, Esora’s donabe features items like akamutsu (blackthroat sea perch) lightly-grilled over binchotan.