1. Honmura An
- Address: 7 Chome-14-18 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo 106-0032, Japan
- Telephone: +81 3-5772-6657
While reading Ruth Reichl’s memoir of her days as the NYT food critic, Garlic and Sapphires, I was intrigued in particular by two reviews. One was her famous 1993 take-down of Le Cirque, written as two personas – the food critic who was fawned over and led to the best seat in the house, and the dowdy Molly who was banished to the nether regions of the restaurant. The other was her 1993 NYT 3-star review of Honmura An. It was unconventional to award a soba house 3 stars 20 years ago, and that review captured some of her determination to be on the side of the consumer, and a bit of her California laissez-faire-ism
While the New York branch has closed, Honmura An remains open in Tokyo, and served us excellent cold soba – with a meditative flavor, drawing on simplicity.
Karami Oroshi soba: cold soba with Karami Daikon radish topping
It was advertised as a seasonal soba, Karami daikon being a very spicy variant available in winter. But the daikon was not really spicy; it possessed the earthiness of longan fruit, with al dente soba noodles. This was eye-opening.
Alright. Curry flavored, but unsalted otherwise (the oysters were not a bit salty) (3.25/5)
2. The Peak at Park Hyatt
At the Park Hyatt, a little lower than the New York bar (setting of Lost in Translation), we sampled the Juyondai Honmaru Gohyakumangoku. I had no idea that Juyondai was such a cult brand. But I can see why. It was fruity and very smooth, reminding me of my late lamented Glenturret 16 distiller’s edition – seeming to float down your throat – it was so light and smooth.