Last updated on November 17th, 2018 at 09:52 pm
Hand made soba noodles: Kamonegi.
This chef has gotten a lot of press, including being named a James Beard semifinalist for best chef in the Northwest 2018, since opening her restaurant in the fall of last year. Finally got a chance to visit….kept forgetting they aren’t open on Sundays…..a popular time for me….or Mondays.
I’m no expert on Japanese cuisine much less soba noodles and the art of making them, but if you watch this video I think you will have a new found respect for what it takes to make them well even before you taste them……you will be hooked after that experience. Unfortunately, if you don’t live in Seattle you will have a difficult time since there are apparently few places outside of Japan that make soba noodles by hand from scratch.
On to the choices for the night. We started with the foie gras “tofu” which was served with sake poached shrimp and wasabi. You might be puzzled by the tofu monicker……it’s foie gras made with a consistency similar to tofu….it’s not the other way round. The dish and flavors were outstanding with just enough of the foie gras flavor to make it rich but not overwhelming. Next up was the tsukemono……pickled vegetables. There was the obvious….cucumber….and not so obvious….kale and purple daikon.
We then moved on to a tempura selection, the eggplant. It arrived in a large bowl that was beautifully presented with vivid colors and the tempura resting in a stock made from mushrooms……delicious. This was followed with a soba selection but first a bit of description is needed.
As mentioned, the soba noodles made here are done from scratch…..buckwheat ground onsite by hand and flour. While gluten light….they are not gluten free due to the added flour…20% of the mix. Presentation of the noodles can be seiro (cold)…..noodles on the side with the hot dipping sauce used as you would like or nanban (hot)…….noodles in the sauce like noodle soup. Our choice was kamonegi soba……..duck breast, duck tsukune (meatball), leek and mitsuba (Japanese parsley). The waitstaff suggested it be served seiro which was a great choice for sharing and also a good serving choice on a hot day. It was delicious….but a caution to those less expert with chopsticks and cold noodle….it can be a bit of a challenge to manage the short distance from the noodle to the bowl and then to the mouth!
My wine was a nice WA state rosé which paired nicely with our dishes. While the wine list is limited, sake choices are numerous.
Finished with a non chocolate dessert….I know you can’t believe it but I turned down the chocolate option…a dark chocolate brownie….for the red bean jelly which did not disappoint. The green tea ice cream and the jelly was a perfect pairing. A Sawanotsuru aged plum sake finished the meal and added a unique experience that I’d recommend.
Service was outstanding and knowledgeable in the ways of soba and Japanese cuisine. The space is small…..about 2 dozen seats including those at the open kitchen bar. They take reservations online and walk-ins are welcomed.