Sarashina Horii (Tokyo, Japan)

Sarashina Horii
3-11-4 Motoazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0046
Dining date: 10/15/12

8102236473 fbef6df505 Sarashina Horii (Tokyo, Japan)

I first learned about Sarashina Horii from an episode of No Reservations. Masaharu Morimoto took Anthony Bourdain here during the Tokyo episode, raving about the soba here. It looked really good, so I immediately added it to my list of places to visit. Indeed, it seems to be a well-known restaurant as many of the Tokyo locals have heard of the Sarashina name.

Sarashina Horii first opened in 1789 with its claim to fame being its soba. The restaurant serves multiple types, but the most notable is probably the eponymous Sarashina soba. This soba uses only the white inner part of buckwheat, resulting in its bleached-white color.

As with many Japanese restaurants, some legit plastic food art make ordering a breeze.

8102249558 d55ae5e151 n Sarashina Horii (Tokyo, Japan) 8102236643 7e78ea94af n Sarashina Horii (Tokyo, Japan)

The complete soba lineup has four varieties; three staples and one that changes seasonally.

MORI-SOBA hand-made brown-colored buckwheat noodle
SARASHINA-SOBA white soba made from only the center of buckwheat
FUTOUTI-SOBA thick soba made from 100% buckwheat powder
KAWARI-SOBA soba colored with natural seasoning

Given it was my first time and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to return, I ordered two dishes to try as much as I could.

SARASHINA-SOBA

8102236251 d198dcc1f2 n Sarashina Horii (Tokyo, Japan)8102248790 898e7f921e n Sarashina Horii (Tokyo, Japan)

8102248452 e80317befd Sarashina Horii (Tokyo, Japan)

The first dish I had was a classic zaru soba with the Sarashina variety of soba. A great chewy texture was complemented by the cool soy/dashi-based dipping sauce. So simple yet so satisfying. I can’t say I noticed a ton of difference between this soba and the “normal” kind, but I thought the earthy flavor was more subtle here.

TENPURA-SOBA soba with one prawn tempura

8102236943 ecac330101 Sarashina Horii (Tokyo, Japan)

8102249972 b2ac80c311 Sarashina Horii (Tokyo, Japan)

For my second dish, I wanted to try something on the opposite end of the spectrum – hot soba, this time with the traditional variety. I enjoyed the soup, but found the soba to be far too soft (a commonality with other bowls of hot soba I’ve had here). Others in our party attributed it to me waiting too long (I did eat much of the cold soba first), but I didn’t think this was the case. The noodles weren’t anywhere close texturally to the cold variety. The accompanying shrimp tempura was giant and quite tasty.

KAKIAGE-SOBA mixture of 6-shrimps and mitsuba fried in batter

8102235371 2d57de7877 Sarashina Horii (Tokyo, Japan)

8102248250 06a626b1dd Sarashina Horii (Tokyo, Japan)

I also tried a bite of the seasonal soba, flavored with chrysanthemum. I really didn’t notice too much of a difference between this one and the Sarashina variety, though I do think I got a hint of the floral flavor…but I might just have been imagining it.

I’m by no means a soba expert (I think we have very few soba specialty restaurants in California), but I thoroughly enjoyed this meal. The cold soba was excellent in texture and balance of flavors, though I have yet to have a cold soba I haven’t enjoyed here. The hot soba was a different story, and I found this one as disappointing as others I’ve had here – maybe that’s just the style? In terms of the “extras,” the tempura was excellent. I hope to make another trip during my stay in Japan.


Comments

Sarashina Horii (Tokyo, Japan) — 4 Comments

  1. I know your posts are from awhile ago, but do you remember which soba places in Tokyo you enjoyed the most? I eat a lot of pretty decent Japanese food in Gardena/Torrance, and I’m afraid I’ll end up eating a lot of comparable food on my trip to Tokyo in April, excluding the obvious Michelin rated restaurants.

    • Hi Jina – to be honest, a lot of the soba places I went to seemed very similar. Not knowing Japanese, it was difficult for me to get any of the backstory for any of the soba shops I went to. This place probably seemed as dedicated to the craft as any and was surely among the top I had. Worth a try.

Leave a Reply!