Fishing for Dinner at Zauo Restaurant (Day 6: Part III)

DSC09979One of the most unique dining experiences that we had in Japan was eating at Fishing Restaurant Zauo.    Zauo is a restaurant chain in Japan where you literally catch your own dinner.  Ev’s brother recommended that we take Connor to eat at the one located in the Washington Hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo and I was able to book reservations for dinner online through Open Table before we left for Japan.DSC09970The seating area of the restaurant was designed to look like a big wooden boat in the center of the restaurant. Surrounding the boat were large fish tanks where you would fish for a variety of seafood.  The night we went, there were flounder, sea bream, horse-mackerel,  top shell, shrimp, and rock fish.  DSC09985We purchased some bait for 100 yen and went fishing.  Once we caught a fish, we got to choose how we wanted the fish cooked from a list of various preparations.  The price depended on the base price of the fish and the cooking options selected.  You could also just order the fish directly off the menu (without catching it) but the prices were slightly higher.
DSC09967The first fish we decided to catch was a Flounder (base 3,661 yen).  We were told that the trick to catching the flounder was that you basically drag the hook along the top of the flounder until the hook snags the flounder so that you can pull the fish out of the water.  Ev’s dad was able to catch the flounder in about five minutes.
DSC09989The cooking options for the flounder were sashimi, simmered in shoyu, fried, deep fried (+324 yen), sautéed in butter (+324), sushi (54 yen a piece), miso soup (+162), fried bones (+216 yen).  We chose to fry half and make sushi with the other half.
DSC09991After we had finished the sushi, we had the bones and fried it up until it was crispy for 216 yen.  I liked the fact that we basically ate every single part of the fish and nothing went to waste.
DSC09993The second fish we caught was the sea bream (2,970 yen base).  This fish was harder to catch and you definitely needed to buy bait (tiny shrimp).  Thankfully, Ev’s dad is an excellent fisherman and caught the fish in less than 10 minutes.  He said the trick to catching this one was that he loaded the hook with as many shrimp as he could fit on the hook.DSC09988The sea bream had the most cooking options, which were sashimi, grilled, simmered in shoyu, fried, chazuke (+410 yen), sushi (+54 yen a piece), kamameshi (+324 yen), miso soup (+162 yen), grilled bones (+216 yen) and bones simmered with shoyu (+324 yen).DSC09994For the sea bream, we chose to have half simmered in shoyu and half made into sashimi.    The simmered sea bream (shown above) was my favorite preparation of the night.DSC09998We also used the bones and head of the sea bream to make miso soup for everyone.  Connor was a big fan of the miso soup.  After the sea bream, we sent Ev out to catch some top shells, which were large sea snails.
DSC09997We had the top shell prepared in sashimi style and grilled.  We all preferred the grilled top shell over the top shell sashimi .  The top shell sashimi style was a little too crunchy and did not have much flavor.
DSC00004We ended the night with a grilled rock fish.  The rock fish wasn’t one of the standard fish on the menu so I don’t recall what the exact price was for this fish.  It was a good size and had a nice grilled smoky flavor.
DSC00005Overall, the Zauo Restaurant was a fun experience and great place to go with kids.  Connor really enjoyed seeing all the different types of fish and watching everyone fish.  I was really glad that I had booked reservations for 5pm when the restaurant opened because it got really crowded as the night went on.   The meal was a bit pricey, but I think it was worth the price given the novelty.

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