Monday, May 17, 2010

How to behave in a soba restaurant.

In Tokyo, there are quite a few soba noodle restaurants. In particular, the Kanda Yabu and the Matsuya in Kanda district are my long time favorites.

These restaurants were conveniently close to my university. When I was a student, I would often walk from the University of Tokyo Hongo campus with "fat man" Ken Shiotani, my best friend who philosophizes.

Ideally, it is best to visit around 15:00 hours, when there are less customers. The posh thing to do is to start with a glass of beer, and then move on to sake. There are quite a few delicacies to accompany the beer and sake. Don't expect large portions. Traditionally, the delicacies in a soba restaurant is served in very small portions. Expect to feel like becoming Gulliver in the island of Lilliput.

The connoisseur never orders a soba dish straight away. The soba noodle, whether served cold or hot, is something that you finish your meal with. It is advisable to take some time to get pleasantly intoxicated, and let the time go by slowly and mellow.
Mind you the point is never to get really drunk. A soba restaurant, after all, is not a pub or a bar. When you feel you had enough share of golden time, you order your soba.

Surprisingly, soba noodle after intoxication is heavenly. The whole point is to land on the solid good taste of soba after feeling uplifted and a little bit carried away through the effect of alcohol.

The "relay" from sake to soba is one of the most exquisite form of eating known to the author.

Finally, it is fashionable to leave the restaurant before dinner time, to avoid the crowd. If you can manage that, I would call that your golden afternoon.


Anonymous said...

I like your style. I will try that today.

(ma)gog said...

Yabu Soba! I have deep nostalgic feeling towards this soba restaurant. My parents used to take me there when I was small, and it used to be a happy family excursion with the lovely traditional taste of soba.

According to your suggestion, I will try to have the luxurious afternoon perhaps on the 18th of August this summer, when I go to my best friend's lunch time organ concert at Anglican church in Kanda.

My heart is already filled with exciting qualia of Bach and Yabu Soba...and beer and sake.

p.s. I have been deeply impressed with your description of "how to behave in a soba restauran." It is so seductive that it is impossible for people not visiting soba restraunts after reading this.

Yuzu said...

It is the seductive soba restaurant. How interested in enjoying soba restaurant.Mr. Mogi always said" Let's try something different in your life,it is the best way for growing in your brain. Well, let me try! But at first I have to find the seductive soba restaurant which is opening at 15:00. Dokidoki.

Nekokichi said...

Do you suck up soba? That noise kills me. People say it is the best and right way to taste soba completely, but I would say it was an excuse by those who could not help do so. They do the same in eating long pasta.

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