best handmade soba!
I'm planning a trip up to NYC for my birthday coming up and I am just dying for an awesome bowl of handmade soba; one with a good deal of bite/chew to it. I recently came back from Tokyo and I've been jonesin' for soba ever since. I've narrowed it down to:
Matsugen (I've read so much about their expensive buckwheat grinder)
Hm my list isn't very narrow, is it? Agghh my head is spinning from all the reviews I've been reading for these places! So, my dear Ch'ers, my fate rests in your hands! Thanks!
Just got back from a Restaurant Week lunch at Matsugen, during which we had fried soba noodles (a pre-meal snack) and cold spicy sesame inaka soba. I liked the texture of the inaka soba very much, but the sauce reminded me of Empire Szechuan's sesame noodles. Not bad, exactly, just kind of heavy and dull. So I would recommend a different preparation, if you go. The appetizer sampler (four small dishes) that came with the set menu was quite good, though, and a surprisingly generous portion.
I lived in Japan for a year, studying and working in the culinary industry. I have a great passion for Soba or Mak Gooksoo (Korean), While living and working at one of the most prestigious hotel, I had an opportunity to explore different types of soba throughout Japan with a guidance of master soba chef. There are many different variation in terms of mixing, kneading, and ratio of buckwheat and wheat flour. My god I really miss living in Japan with all the wonderful cultures, especially how they really appreciate food.
In my humble opinion and I have been to all of Soba restaurants in NYC, I would strongly recommend Soba Nippon. There's only a few who is skilled enough to bring out the aromas of nutty and floral buckwheat noodles which you can fully experience in Soba Nippon. Growing and milling their own buckwheat helps more than other competitors who uses the same flour imported from Japan. There's nothing better than fresh ingredients which nothing can beat that. Hope this helps.
Matsugen definitely...(though i admit i have not been to Soba Totto yet)...Matsugen has three diff varieties that vary in their percentage of buckwheat, density, etc...
Soba Koh is a charming little place and serves tastes tempura w/ their soba, but personally i find their soba a little light on the buckwheat...
Soba-ya is famous, but the last time i went there it was bad...apathetic Latino waiters, not-fresh-tasting soba, and a generally downhill vibe...
i didn't know Sakagura served soba...they may, but it's known primarily as a sake bar/izakaya...i'd recommend going to soba specialist...
Let us know what you find...