Fun Place with Authentic Japanese Atmosphere
I'd been interested in Soba Totto for such a long time and finally had the chance to go this past Friday. It was a far better experience than I expected. This place is definitely Izakaya style (serves Japanese pub food), so if you're not a big drinker and want a full Japanese meal, you might be slightly disappointed.
I went on a Friday night with my five friends and the place was packed. They have a huge selection of Japanese Sake and Shochu along with a variety of small appetizers. Considering the size of the dishes, it could be a little bit pricey, but the quality was pretty good and they are all authentic Japanese.
We reserved a small private room. The only thing is that since it was a Friday night, all the private rooms were reserved by 2-hour blocks only. It would have been nice if we could have stayed longer, but the service was very attentive and I didn't feel that we were rushed too much. I can forgive them for that as long as the service and the food was good. After all the small dishes, we had cold zaru soba. Based on the name of the restaurant, I expected soba (buckwheat noodle) to be their specialty, but I thought their soba was just average. However, soba-yu (boiled water from cooking soba; much like broth) was served at the end and this was a nice surprise. It was a very good ending mixed with leftover soba-tsuyu.
If you want to experience an authentic Japanese Izakaya and enjoy a lot of different dishes (and you're not on a tight budget), Soba Totto is a great place. I highly recommend this restaurant.
Finally visit here for Biz lunch. (They have a kind of private room.)
Overall I felt so Japan here! The food was awesome and they have a lot of kind of menu so you won't get tired of it even if you come more than once a week;)
Lunch set comes with a soba and you can choose cold or hot. I ordered Nebatoro Don with Hot Soba. Here will be my new favorite haunt.
I am noodle lover, especially, I really love Japanese Soba.
I was expecting here but honestly I was disappointed.
1st, dashi (soup stock) is very thin.
2nd, kaeshi (sauce) has no depth.
3rd, noodles don't have flavor of wheat.
As the table doesn't have soy source, you can't add extra taste.
Often go here because it's close from my work. They open at 11:45am for lunch. There is always a line from around 11:30am to get Bara Chirashi lunch set. They are limited for 20 and only $10. The other soba set menu is around $20 so it's great deal and taste so good! The pic is sanshoku don (means three colors). Has salmon roe, uni, and crab over rice. It comes with cold or hot soba.
Skip the Soba - otsumami is where it's at
The Totto franchise is without a doubt a heavyweight among Japanese chain restaurants in NYC. With the long-line ramen shops on the east and west side, a Tokyo-style 2nd floor yakitori restaurant in Hell's Kitchen, and Soba Totto, the largest soba-ya in NYC, they have plenty of pull with Japanese and New Yorkers alike. And those are just the restaurants that bear the Totto brand.
When I was first diving into the NYC Japanese food scene, I remember being at Sakagura (basement sake temple), but needing stop next door at Soba Totto to drop off something for a sake expert who had taken me under her wing as I began my shochu blog. She told me she was in a private room in the restaurant. I was super intimidated, because I didn't even know Japanese restaurants had private rooms. I was so intimidated, in fact, that I didn't return to Soba Totto to eat for more than year. It turns out there are several private rooms depending on the size of the party and there is nothing intimidating about Soba Totto other than their extensive menu. I'm now a regular, but I rarely sit in the dining room. I much prefer the intimate bar to the left as you pass through the 2nd glass door.
First a word about soba. I'm not sure why, but people who eat soba are really serious about which soba is the best in NYC, and yet nobody is passionate about soba. It's not like ramen where people argue, sometimes loudly, about Totto v. Hide Chan v. Mu v. Ippudo v. Ramenya v. Yuji v. Cup. With soba it's more like, "I prefer SobaKoh, because Sobaya's bar area smells musty" or "Darumaya's soba is great, but their drinks are too expensive." And the overwhelming response is usually something like, "Oh really? Have you been to Yuji Ramen for their omakase?" Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy a good bowl of soba, but for my money I'll go to Cocoron.
I ate at Soba Totto semi-regularly for more than a year before I actually tried their soba. They have an extensive yakitori list, an even more extensive otsumami (drinking snack) list, and a seasonal special menu that really drives my ordering habits. I often show up expecting to get a beer and a soba and call it a night, but after ordering a few otsumami and ordering a glass of shochu after my beer is empty, I end up staying for several hours snacking and drinking and talking to my favorite bartender, Sayaka, who used to be the bartender at Shochu Bar Hatchan before it closed. Like many of the best restaurants or bars, it's not just the food or the decor, but the staff who makes the difference. Service in the main dining room can be sterile, but I always manage to feel welcome in the front bar.
Food wise, if you really want to know what to eat, check out my photos. I'm not going to dig through each dish I like here individually mainly because I refuse to type that much. Definite favorites for me are the cheese wontons (don't photograph well since they're just fried wonton skin wrapped cheese sticks), the yuba to uni (sea urchin sashimi and raw tofu skin), and tataki kyuri (spicy cucumber and squid). Those are all on the otsumami menu.
They also have some relatively rare dishes including same nankotsu (plum pickled shark cartilage), karasumi (dried mullet roe between slices of daikon), pickled chicken breast, and several other classic drinking snacks involving fermentation/pickling and seafood: takowasa (chopped octopus sashimi with wasabi), shutto (fermented fish guts), and shiokara (fermented squid). Many of these are acquired tastes, but fortunately they are not particularly expensive and come in small portions so if you can't finish, it's not a total waste. At least you tried.
Drinks wise, I usually stick to the draft Aasahi and extensive shochu menu. They often have shochu that's off-menu so it's always good to ask. They also carry a wide selection of nihonshu (sake) and Japanese whiskys, which Sayaka is always happy to talk about since she's more a whisky drinker than a shochu drinker. They also have seasonal cocktails as well as a regular rotation. I'm not much of a cocktail guy so you'll have to explore those for yourself.
Essentially, Soba Totto represents Japanese izakaya food made by experience chefs and high quality ingredients in a well designed environment by Japanese staff. I'm only sorry it took me so long to visit for the first time, but to give some perspective on how much I like it, I've never returned to Sakagura since trying Soba Totto.
I came by here with some friends when we couldn't get into Sakagura upstairs.
I had been to Yakitori Totto and Totto Ramen, so I wasn't expecting it to be so business casual, but luckily we were given the best seats in the house.. large booth closed off to the rest of the restaurant.
Not expecting such an elaborate menu, I left the ordering to Hayato, who had been there before. The standouts were actually the grilled meats, which I didn't even expect to see on the menu. We had some excellent lamb chops and pork spare ribs.
We had some other nice appetizers: dashimaki tamago, mackerel, karikari jaco salad with seaweed and egg, rice balls.
What I did not love and may be an acquired taste was the enoki bacon yakitori. The enoki mushrooms are just too squeaky for me. We were also recommended the duck soba. I will say the broth was very tasty, but the sliced duck itself did not really do it for me. I think it would have been better if it were a bit moister, but it could just be that its not my thing.
Overall this was a nice dinner. It was fun to try a variety of things that were all done pretty well. However, there was nothing so unique that I would go back for.
This is the soba restaurant for the "Totto family" of restaurants which also includes Totto Ramen and Yakitori Totto. This group of restaurants is known for serving up authentic and tasty Japanese fare.
Been here for dinner and lunch. At lunch they have an infamous Bara Chirashi Set (Dice cut sashimi (Tuna, Salmon, Mackerel, Shrimp, Eel, Sea urchin & Flying fish roe) over sushi rice bowl and soba. But unfortunately they only do 20 orders per day so you'll have to get there 10-15 minutes before opening to ensure that you get it. They also have an assortment of limited soba that is made daily. The soba here is some of the best in NYC, so if you're in the mood for traditional Japanese soba visit this joint.
Enjoying some traditional Japanese New Years food! First dish, Hijiki #LivingWithAlohaBlog #LivingWithAloha #Blog #Travel #TravelWithTwiggy #Coffee #CoffeeTime #Starbucks #NYC #NewYork #NewYorkCity #Manhattan #MidtownEast #TwiggyEats #Japan #JapaneseFood #Hijiki
Enjoying some traditional Japanese New Years food! Next up, Unagi Don and Soba! #LivingWithAlohaBlog #LivingWithAloha #Blog #Travel #TravelWithTwiggy #Coffee #CoffeeTime #Starbucks #NYC #NewYork #NewYorkCity #Manhattan #MidtownEast #TwiggyEats #Japan #JapaneseFood #Soba #Unagi #Eel
Eating with a group of food lovers always means talking about food while eating really good food. And lots of picture taking. Soba Totto with lordoftheforks restaurantfairy tabelogus joycehuang1126 bonviveurnyc
For the love of the sea (urchin). Uni, Ikura and crab over rice at Soba Totto. One of my favorite lunch combos with a side of cold soba. cutiepatroller this one's for you! We missed ya at lunch today. chubbyeats nyceats midtownlunch tabelogus uniporn
Soba Totto, Midtown East, NYC
Soba Totto is the extremely popular midtown Japanese noodle spot which offers a delicious menu of hot or cold Soba.
The focus of this soba house is the fresh, handmade buckwheat noodles made everyday. Mika Ohie – a stickler for serving up perfect bowls each time, oversees the kitchen.
One can choose from a set menu, which includes a really delicious salad topped with fried soba and a small side dish. I chose the “Okame” w/ kamaboko fishcake, rolled egg, shiitake mushroom & fried bean curd, which warmed me up perfectly on a chilly day.
Soba, in my opinion, is best eaten cold and the “Nameko Mushrooms & Grated Radish” might be one of the tastier bowls one can get.
Soba Totto is also known for it famous Yakitori.
During the week, lunch is a brisk affair with tables being turned for tight schedules and long lines. If you are in the mood for Soba then I would definitely recommend you try Soba Totto.
Here is some of what we ate:
Sansai Soba Okame Soba
Kitsune Soba Uni Soba
Located in the Midtown East area of New York, Soba Totto dishes up Japanese comfort food to hungry customers. Here, one can enjoy yakitori dishes, which feature meats grilled on a stick, to rice bowls with uni and salmon roe, to soba noodles served in soup, or as zaru soba, a cold preparation. A few diners were displeased with the temperature of their meals, as they felt they were served food lukewarm instead of hot.
Soba Totto is exceptionally large compared to the average Japanese restaurant. The lighting is soft and subdued, and the restaurant features dark wood furniture and quiet ambience, which many have said is authentic. There is a bar at the front in case there is a wait.
Reviewers have remarked the service is quick, and efficient, and that your tea cup will never go empty. You'll receive a warm welcome when you walk in, followed by a hot towel to cleanse your hands before the meal. You may want to point and speak slowly for the service staff to understand you fully, as most do not have English as a first language.