211 E. 43rd St @ 3rd Ave (Midtown East)
The newest restaurant in Ryuichi Minekata's empire (already consisting of Yakitori Totto, Yakitori Tory and Aburiya Kinnosuke), Soba Totto is a much welcomed addition. I tried it last night with Ryan and despite our history of getting downright disgusting (okonomiyaki at 3am anyone?) we managed to control ourselves and had a very delicious meal, pictured below.
We also ordered chicken meatballs and chicken skin. There was an hour wait, even though I arrived only 20 minutes after it opened. There is a separate bar, however, where you can order some appetizers. My advice - go a little early or go with a group of four and make a reservation. This is the minimum amount of people they take them for.
It's a beautiful restaurant, with dark walls and light wood. For small groups it's good to dine at the grill, where you can study the chefs as they deftly flip skewers and manage the fire at the same time. Service is polite and attentive. I don't think I have any complaints about this place...except that if it were just a smidgen less expensive I would be in trouble. I can see this becoming an after-work favorite.
Kyona & Jyako, Onsen Tamago Salad. This was a great way to start - light greens topped with tiny fried fish, seaweed, cream cheese nuggets and a dressing of slightly raw egg. The waitress beat the egg at the table and poured it over the salad. The combination of ingredients may sound odd but everything together tasted delicious. I would definitely recommend this as a starter.
Gome dare soba. For me this was the best part of the meal. Noodles were the perfect consistency - slightly firm and just on the verge of chewy. Very refreshing to eat. The dipping sauce was a thick sesame broth, which was slightly sweet and nutty.
Soba-yu. This is the water that the soba was cooked in. After finihshing the noodles, you pour it into the dipping sauce and drink it. I'm told this is the authentic way - though I won't hold it against a place if they don't offer it.
Grilled chicken heart - they look more like hearts when they're flayed open like this. Wasn't chewy at all like one might think - quite delicious, especially with some chili powder sprinkled on top.
Enoki mushroom wrapped in bacon - another favorite at all of these spots.
Dessert was frozen banana in coconut milk with tapioca and fresh mint. Very refreshing and yummy, though I wished for more coconut milk.