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Jan 28, 2010 11:08 AM

best handmade soba!

Hey all!
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)
Soba Totto

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!

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  1. 15 East

    Also I think you might mean Sakagura?

    Sugiyama might be worth a call

    1. 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...

      5 Replies
      1. re: Simon

        I'll second the hesitation on Soba-ya. We went 2 or 3 months ago and pretty much everything was awful. It was a real disappointment. Would love to hear other's experiences and recommendations!

        1. re: Simon

          The soba at sobaya and sakagura are almost identical, even their tempura is almost the same.

          1. re: Ricky

            They're identical. Sakugura gets its lunch soba from Soba-ya, since they're both owned by the same people.

          2. re: Simon

            I'm not a fan of Soba-ya's broth either. It's too heavy on the katsuobushi taste. It's poorly balanced.

            1. re: Silverjay

              soba ya - agree w/ silverjay on soba ya

              soba koh - i really like the uni ikura soba

              15 east - might be a good choice, i haven't tried the soba, but it is the old soba chef from honmura an, which was my favorite soba place

          3. FYI, I think the person making soba at 15 East was formerly of the beloved (now closed) Honmura An.

            Somebody correct me if that person is no longer at 15 East...

            2 Replies
            1. re: gutsofsteel

              Cannot say up to the day but, yes, that was where he was from and was not at 15 East every day. Make sure he is and it is the place to go. Doubt Matsugen is better.

              1. re: dietndesire

                I've only been to Soba Totto, but I really liked it and would definitely recommend it (haven't had their hot sobas though, since I've only been during the summertime).

            2. 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.

              1. 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.