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May 9, 1999 09:43 PM

good, clean soba

  • s

When I lived in Los Angeles, my favorite soba noodles
were served at a place called Mishima, on the west side
at Barrington and Olympic. I "discovered" this place in
the late 80s after Jonathan Gold reviewed it in his
column, then published in the L.A. Times. The soba (or
udon, if you preferred) were always done to perfection,
with just a little "tooth," and served in the lightest
broth, tasting of bonito and soy sauce without any msg.
My favorite topping was fried tofu, and even this
wasn't greasy. On a hot day, the cold soba with
dipping sauce was the thing. It was cheap--something
like $6--and the service was fast. Here in New York I
can find nothing but salty, greasy ramen topped with
canned corn (Sapporo!), or udon/soba served as an
afterthought in sushi joints. Do any of you New Yorkers
know where I can get good, clean soba?

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  1. try Soba-ya on, I think, East 9th St - where all those
    Japanese/Korean places are, along with Sunrise Mart and
    the St. Mark's Book Shop.

    It's not terribly cheap (with 1 app and a drink, 20-25
    per person), but I think you'll find what you're
    looking for. I have a few Japanese friends in the city
    who approve of the place.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Erika
      Robert Sietsema

      Hey Sue, how ya doin'?

      Soba-ya is great, but if you really want to blow a wad, hit Honmura An on Greene Street in Soho. They fly the buckwheat in from Japan, and make it into noodles right on the premises with a series of dowels of various circumference. The defining characteristic of the finished noodle is that, when cooked, it breaks at just the right point when it's bent. Also recommended are the imported prawns. A dinner of soba and side dishes will probably cost you $35 or so, but it's worth it.

      1. re: Robert Sietsema
        keith koenigsberg

        Can anyone recommend a Japanese soba/udon/ramen-erie
        with good food plus a comforting enviirons? I'm
        picturing someplace like the store in "Tampopo", (a 10
        year old Japanese film no self-respecting chowhound
        should miss) where I can duck in on a winter day and be
        enveloped by steam and comforting aromas.

        1. re: keith koenigsberg

          Soba-Ya, on E. 9th. Owned by the same people as Hasaki
          across the street.

          1. re: MU
            Frank Language

            MU writes: "Soba-Ya, on E. 9th. Owned by the same
            people as Hasaki across the street"

            Unless it's changed hands, that would be the same guy
            who owned "103 2nd Avenue" at Second avenue and 6th
            street back in the 80s - Shugi Yagi, or "The Shu" as he
            was called.

    2. i too am in search of the perfect cold soba in dipping
      sauce. the best i've had was at the lotte hotel in
      korea at my grandma's birthday party. since then i've
      been on a quest (well, maybe a mini-quest) to find
      great cold soba (zaru soba in japanese, momil kuksu in
      korean) here in nyc.

      so far i've been disappointed. probably the best place
      i've had it here is in this place called yodo of japan
      on 47th between 5th and madison. the place is nice and
      clean. they had excellent toro when i was there too.
      probably one of my most satisfying lunches last year on
      a hot summer day. good refreshing zaru soba and a melt
      in your mouth piece of toro. it probably ended up
      costing me about $15, which is alot for lunch, but well
      worth it once in a while.

      i've been to soba-ya once and didn't think too much of
      it actually, although i had hot soup and not zaru soba.
      menchanko tei is far better for hot soup though.

      also, if you go to yodo, you might want to stop by
      katsuhama next door, where they make excellent
      tonkatsu. you can see my post in the manhattan board.

      if you go to yodo, let me know what you think. and if
      you ever find anyplace better, post it so i can check
      it out as well. thanks and good luck.