I've only recently discovered Soba Koh, a tiny spot in New York's East Village where you can watch Chef Hiromitsu Takahashi roll and cut soba by hand as you walk into the place. I don't know what took me so long. Chef Takahashi's soba is the real-deal -- fresh, dense, toothsome and delicious. If you're curious about soba, you have to check this place out.
I had heard the chef's teacher was in town from Japan and "guest rolling" soba, so I visited the restaurant again, where this time, Master Chef Akila Inouye, who runs the Tsukiji Soba Academy in Tokyo, was working a sheet of soba dough. Check out the pictures below of the master at work. During a break in the action, Chef Inouye told me that he teaches intensive soba-making classes for professional chefs as well as classes in English (idea for my next Tokyo trip!). I got to try Chef Inouye's handmade soba served in a hot broth with tempura shrimp, a classic dish. The soba was amazing, perfect. The broth was fantastic, too, so intensely savory and flavorful. As I was enjoying my meal, Chef Takahashi stopped by my table and explained that the broth was made from kombu, katsuobushi (dried, shaved bonito) and sabazushi -- dried, shaved mackerel -- in the traditional, potent Tokyo style. Perfect for a blustery autumn day in New York.