Ramen, ramen, ramen. Everybody loves ramen these days, including us. However, it’s important not to forget about soba. While in Tokyo, we had some excellent soba at Matsugen in the Ebisu neighborhood.
We arrived at the comfortable, upscale restaurant at an odd time, so we were the only diners. In other words, it was the perfect time for lunch.
Lunch at Matsugen
After we were seated, we ordered draft Sapporo Kuro Rabel beers and perused the comprehensive menu that went well beyond soba. Prices were reasonable. We both opted for the Matsugen Soba since it sounded interesting in a “best of” kind of way, which turned out to be a good choice.
We were served the hand-made soba noodles in beautiful pottery bowls along with savory sauce on the side. As expected, each noodle was uniformly constructed. Firm yet delicate, the noodles were made by hand as they have been for over 150 years. The nuttiness of the buckwheat noodles stood up to the flavorful Japanese toppings that included yam, shisonori, scallion, egg, sesame, okura, wasabi, cucumber, yoga, bonito and Jew’s mallow. That’s a lot of goodness for 1,160 yen or approximately $12.
We dug in and decided that ramen is definitely not the only noodle game in town.
As we enjoyed the meal, other diners trickled in, and the buzz picked up. We made our way to the bottom of the bowls and thought we were done, but then the waiter brought us broth to pour in our bowls so that we could enjoy the remaining flavors in a different way. So delicious. We later learned that we could have ordered more noodles for the broth. At least we’ll know for next time.
After ending the meal with some soba tea (Mindi) and French white wine (Daryl), we left the stylish restaurant with full bellies and a new respect for soba.