Restaurant: Soba-Ya

The first words to come out of my mouth when I finished my meal at Soba-Ya was, “I want to come back here.”

On our trip to New York, we came armed with a 7-paged list of restaurant and things to do, mostly suggestions from friends and research we’d done ourselves. Soba-Ya wasn’t at the top of my list, but after a recommendation from John’s brother (and NY local) as a well-frequented restaurant, we decided to head there for dinner.

sobaya_exteriorThere’s something very basic about soba because there are really just two things that make the dish: the dashi and the noodles. Sure, you can have kitsune, tanuki, or tempura soba, but that stuff they pile on is just ornament. If the foundation isn’t good, then it’s not good soba, no matter how you try to disguise it.


We started with the yuba sashimi as an appetizer. I love yuba (it’s the skin that forms on the surface when they make tofu) for its delicate, but firm texture. This yuba sashimi was tofu was wrapped inside sheets of yuba. A little dip in shoyu, a dab of wasabi, and the flavor was at once sweet, soft, salty, and with a kick. Simple and delicious.

I’m not one to get super excited about soba, but this soba was amazing. The dashi had an assertive katsuo flavor that, when mixed with the grated yama imo, thickened it and made it so savory. The broth wasn’t too salty, as it tends to be at other places, and they really balanced all the flavors perfectly. Just writing this makes me want to fly back and slurp up another bowl. Ahh, heaven.


229 E. 9th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 533-6966

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  1. Posted August 16, 2009 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    i LOVE soba-ya! i traveled through japan for a month trying soba everywhere i could and honestly couldn’t find any better. now that i’ve moved away from new york soba-ya is the place i miss the most and my first stop whenever i go back. so glad you were able to discover this gem.

  2. Ashton
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    they serve raccoon dog??

  3. Posted March 1, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Aston, no—I hope not! Tanuki soba is soba with fried bits of tempura batter, not actual racoon.

  4. Kathy
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the tip, Azusa. We went to Soba-ya twice this past weekend. It was delicious and brought back fond memories of Jindi-ji, where the soba is the best in the Tokyo area.

  5. Posted March 1, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Kathy, I’m so jealous! I’ve never been to Jindi-ji… a new place to try the next time I visit.

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