Monday, August 24, 2009

Takegami Ittetsu Soba, Tokyo (たけがみ 一徹)

Tokyo Station Kitchen Street is actually starting to look a little slim in terms of unexplored places. This was one of them, and I liked it. The name means something like 'stubborn', which I expect is meant to be a comment on their unwavering commitment to quality.

Tokyo Station has a campaign on for the Summer that illustrates a fun quirk of Japanese English - the frequent breaks in parallel construction. For some reason it's popular to use adjectives and nouns together in phrases that should have two of the same - "Happy and Enjoyment!" and the like. Presumably to fight the heat, the August campaign over there is "Healthy and Beauty" - double-confusing since both words end in 'y', but still not parallel. As it happens, I had the special Healthy and Beauty dish at this soba place.

Takegami seems to be going outside the lines a bit despite their inflexibility; the menu has some oddities. The H&B special was as follows (and brace yourself, because this is really the most interesting thing that's going to happen today): cold soba made from buckwheat and bean flour, artfully arranged in a square bordered with rows of sliced green onion, sesame, and ground pork, sided by a bowl of sesame-based spicy dipping sauce. That's right, it's 'Japanese-style Tan-Tan Soba'! The noodles had a weird translucent look due to the inclusion of the bean flour; this highlighted the brown-ness of the buckwheat in a way that using wheat flour doesn't (soba is normally made from buckwheat flour and wheat flour in a mix. If it's made only from buckwheat it's a big deal and will be labeled as '100% Soba'.).

There was an odd Chinese aspect to the decor (lacquered cabinets covering the walls) that I didn't stop too much to consider - it being already 2 PM when I got there. It's probably a sign that they're a classy establishment despite being located in a train station! They also have very luxurious-looking branches in Akasaka, Nogizaka and Ginza, so this could meet all your high-end soba needs if you have any.

Soba and delicious!

1 comment:

  1. Decor comment from your avid reader (YAV): Had lunch in beautiful downtown Towson, MD Spice Cafe yesterday...Indian restaurant with so-so buffet except for the steaming, soft naan that had just come out of the oven so was eaten by yours truly who is not eating white flour but alas could not resist. Anyway, decor is fake swiss chalet with hints of Japanese shoshi screens and Indian god statues, all in a dank basement setting which is reached by a very long down ramp from the street. Adding to the intrigue was the water boy who spoke Spanish and the owner who tried to speak to him in Spanish while she was also conversing with a young woman from her region in a "mother tongue" language and another young woman who spoke Hindi and the customers who spoke English. She told us she is sure she will never get Alzheimers because her brain works so hard all day. What has happened to the countdown to the best restaurant in the world? YAV