Yabu Soba

Tucked away in a little building along the Kamagawa River is Yabu Soba. A small eatery in operation since 1929, it has a quiet, comforting feel about it. In the corner was a small TV with the evening news running, but otherwise, besides the noises of the working kitchen staff, it was muted and like a nice cafe to relax at. I was right to bring a book to read while I lounged there for a bit.

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When I sat down, the waiter double checked I didn’t need any help reading the menu, and then once I said I was fine, gave me the space to look over it.

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While their specialties were mainly soba and udon (with a ramen section as well), they actually had quite a wide variety in their menu, including some donburi options, for example, if you weren’t quite in the mood for noodles.

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If you are, however, you have dozens of options to choose from regarding how you want your noodles of choice prepared. They can do hot or cold and with a variety of toppings as well. I went for the matcha tempura zaru-soba, which was one of the pricier options on the menu (1,300 yen), but the matcha noodles had caught my eye.

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It came in a reasonable amount of time (as I was the only customer in there at the time, but it seems they do a lot of take-out), and the man instructed me on how to consume the soba-yu, which was placed in a small, ceramic pitcher next to the tray of food. Soba-yu is the foggy water leftover from boiling the noodles and is said to be very nutrient-rich, and I had only had it once before at the house of a Japanese friend. With this food, once you are finished eating the noodles, you pour it over whatever tsuyu (the dressing, essentially–soy sauce+ mixture, green onion, wasabi, and nori, in this case) is left and drink it.

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The noodles themselves were also good–although the matcha flavor in the soba was very faint and nearly undetectable to me, so I’ll just stick with the plain, cheaper noodles. The tempura was a mixture of vegetables (carrot, mushroom, etc.) and seafood (shrimp and squid). Personally, I find it hard to go wrong when making food like this, but the restaurant staff was very friendly without being clingy or annoying, and the atmosphere was comforting, so I’ll definitely be back again.

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Phone number: 028-633-3855

栃木県宇都宮市西2-2-26

Hours of operation:
11:00~14:30 (Weekends only)
17:00~19:30

Closed Thursdays

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