Sunday, August 22, 2010

Maruya soba, Kitami (丸屋,喜多見)

There are soba places like this all over Japan - an aging, classic building; tile or stone floor; a few knick-knacks; a mill for grinding the flour fresh. The tables and chairs are almost always dark wood, and almost always uncomfortable (perhaps they're just built for slimmer buttocks than mine). And they're usually good. If you take the time to grind your own flour the same day that you make the noodles, can you really be the kind of person who wouldn't make sure the noodles come out well?
Well, no, you probably couldn't be. And Maruya's chef certainly is not. This place would be right at home in  smaller town in Nagano, where soba is more famous. Finding it right down the street in Kitami is a nice bonus. And having some funky specialties for summer is also interesting. If you want to verify the purity of their capabilities, you'd just get a bamboo strainer with cold noodles. If you didn't care so much, you'd get something like this healthy concoction with mizuna, tofu, wakame and other cold delights.
Or you might even get tempura soba, a mix of warm, fried summer vegetables on cold soba already mixed with its soup / sauce. And lots of grated daikon and ginger to mix in. Either way, the soba here are fresh, and very appropriately chewy. Good stuff.

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