Yet another trip to the big apple led me to venture from my usual ramen taste test to a colder noodle soup venture. After waking up late on Saturday, I ventured to SOBAYA in East Village with Justin and two friends since Cafe Orlin held a 30 to one hour wait.
We sat immediately, but hungry patrons filled almost every table in sight. Luckily, we snagged the last booth, which offered a nice quiet setting aside from the crowded open table seating seen upon entering the establishment. The menu is somewhat extensive with a variety of options ranging from raw fish, lunch boxes and sets, hot and cold noodles, and rice bowls.
I decided on soba (cold) noodles with uni (sea urchin) and Justin ordered a lunch set of tempura with udon noodles. Interesting fact: you can try hot soba noodles, although in Asian culture, you would always eat the buckwheat dish cold. Here’s to trying new things? a friend ordered this version for fun, and regretted his decision and ended up longing for the udon noodles in his hot soup.
My uni came freshly placed on top of a bed of cold soba noodles and grated mountain yam. Scallions, wasabi and sauce came on the side and blended nicely with the bits of shredded seaweed. I received exactly what I wanted: cold noodles with my favorite raw seafood. SOBAYA also doesn’t skimp on the uni and gave a decently sized portion. After I finished eating the whole bowl, our waitress brought a kettle of Soba-yu, the water the noodles are boiled in. It had hints of butter and flavor and cleansed my palette towards the end of the meal.
The udon noodles came out first for Justin’s lunch set. Take note, SOBAYA only serves the set to 25 customers a day (supposedly). Inside the box came broiled salmon, a cube of sushi rice, a bed of greens topped with carrots and an Asian dressing, seaweed and a mini chirashi with shredded eggs and bits of salmon roe. The tempura came on the side and included two shrimps and a green bean. The entire set kept the meal clean and filling so we walked a few miles easily (sometimes it’s difficult after a hearty bowl of ramen).
Finally, the lunch box includes a custard dessert at the end. It’s light and refreshing just as any Asian delicacy might taste.
SOBAYA is located on 229 E 9th Street in East Village, New York. Go for lunch in between 12-3:30 pm or dinner 5:30-10:30/11 pm.