Soba often gets second class treatment in the United States: ramen comes first, then udon, then soba. But from August 23rd to the 28th, cookbook author Sonoko Sakai, and Tsukiji Soba Academy founder Akila Inouye will be popping up at Breadbar on West 3rd, to prove how good real soba can be. The Edo-style soba menu will feature both modern and traditional dishes, which can be ordered à la carte, or in “long”($58) and “lean”($38) tasting menus.
The pair will be making their fresh soba each day, all by hand, in Sakai's home. “I converted my entire dining room into a soba studio,” said Sakai, who spoke to us by phone in Japan, where she is buying the necessary flower for the noodle pop-up. “This is artisanal soba, we really do it by hand. We really hand cut. I have 15 knives right now.”
In Japan, soba-making is a revered art form, and not something taken lightly. “It's all about timing. Fresh harvest, fresh milling, fresh cutting.” In addition to having great texture and flavor, soba is also a very healthful food. “It's basically as whole as a food can get. Buckwheat is a simple plant. People think it's a grain, but it's not. It's a plant,” said Sakai, a long time lover of the noodle. “It has more protein than rice or wheat and is loaded with all kinds of vitamins.”
The duo will also be teaching classes in soba making before, during, and after their time at Breadbar.
In addition to the classic and modern soba dishes, the menu will include sides like soba chips, braised Donko Shiitake mushrooms, kakuni-style pork belly, and summer pickles.