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Feb 24, 2008 10:28 AM

soba koh - disappointing

went here as an alternative to sobaya and after some good reviews but I have to say, the noodles were disappointing; is that possible at a noodle bar? we had some very good apps (some of the vegetable starters) and I had the mushroom hot soba while my friend had the eel tempura hot soba (tempura on the side). two very different broths, both excellent. mine was a very rich deep flavor, and the broth had much richer flavor than the mushrooms themselves, which seemed somewhat cooked out. the broth in the eel tempura soba tasted strongly of herbs and was really good, some notes of orange peel. but the noodles themselves were overcooked, on both bowls, which seems bizarre to me. so in the end, the noodles ended up breaking into 1-inch pieces like lipton noodle soup from a packet. somehow, they still maintained a square shape, but were just too soft.

next time I want to try the cold soba topped w/ uni and roe but I was definitely disappointed in the hot selections.

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  1. I had the cold soba with uni and ikura at Soba-koh & then Soba-ya, a few days apart. I found that dish to be far superior at Soba-koh, with regard to the texture of the noodles and the quality of the toppings. There's a million reasons why this might be so, among them that maybe I wasn't so into it the second time. But I'd be much more inclined to revisit Soba-koh.

    1. In my experience the higher quality soba often breaks in hot broth. At honmura-an the soba always broke into little bits in hot broth. This was due to the higher proportion of buckwheat flower in relation to other flours (yam and/or wheat). They claimed their soba was 100% buckwheat. Is this perhaps why it is commonly believed to be more refined to eat soba cold?

      1. Honto! I have only had great Soba at Soba-koh (and Sake too) . Closest in US I have had to real soba places like Yabusoba in Kanda. I agree, some Gaijin may not understand real handmade soba does break up when hot,

        (BTW, I have always been disappointed with Soba-ya and was so happy when Soba-koh came on the scene)

        But please dont let me convince you to go to Soba-koh. Its too crowded there already....

        1. yes perhaps that is the way it is supposed to be, but on a pure, style-free judgment, the texture still seemed off to me; makes sense that the higher the buckwheat content the more "grainy" it is in a way, and not as much gluten would make for a less chewy noodle. and not to say that sobaya is any sort of gold standard either. would anyone favor another place for excellent soba? I'd love to give it a whirl as well.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bigjeff

            The former soba chef at Honmura An is now at 15 East making fresh soba everyday.

            There is also the new Soba Totto, though I haven't tried it yet.

          2. thats too bad, i usually eat there about once a month (i get the cold soba with una and salmon roe and my gf gets the hot tempura soba)....i think that its substantially better than soba ya (which is still pretty decent); maybe it was an off night?