January 3, 2008
Freezing night, just freezing, so I popped back into Soba Totto for warming soba before hopping on the subway. I noticed a couple of things I hadn't seen before. Actually, now that I think about it, I noticed just one new thing: In back of the line where all the yakitori chefs are grilling their meats there are a bunch of crocks of shochu with little spigots for dispensing.
As I finished slurping my noodles and was relaxing with my tea (toasty hojicha — very classy), Bobby, the owner (Ryuichi Munekata, actually, but he goes by Bobby) noticed me and immediately apologized that the menu was so limited. He said the soba chef was from Japan and was still working out the kinks of New York water. He said a bigger menu would be in place in the next two to four weeks, and then he apologized again.
Not that there was anything to apologize about. I was just having plain old $10 hot kake soba.
And the menu's not exactly limited. There are four other hot soba options (with (1) egg, (2) chicken breast, (3) "Japanese yam" — which I'm guessing is nagaimo — and egg, and (4) tempura) as well as six cold soba options, plus all sorts of pickles, three salads, cheese-stuffed deep-fried wontons, Japanese-style fried chicken and a couple of dozen types of yakitori.
He also has seven appetizers with either soba or "soba seed," by which I think he means buckwheat groats, which we Jews call kasha.