Honmura An, a serene Soho destination for fresh house-made soba, is history. The second-floor oasis on Mercer Street closed on February 17, ending a 15-year run. Its owner, Koichi Kobari, will return to Japan to pitch in at his family’s original Honmura An shops in Tokyo.
Among Manhattan’s surviving soba spots, most hounds give the edge to SobaKoh, a relative newcomer in the East Village; nearby Sobaya can still turn out a tasty bowl of noodles, but some report signs of slippage.
In Chinatown, which just celebrated the Lunar New Year, it’s in with the Pig but out with the budget pork chop. May Wah Fast Food, whose soy-braised chicken legs and juicy pork chops were dependable under-$5 staples for the downtown lunch crowd, shut its doors when its owner retired. “For years I have relied on their lunch box delivery for rib-sticking home cooking,” eulogizes vicki_vale, “and they will be sorely missed.”
The only encouraging news here is an unconfirmed report that May Wah will be succeeded by a Hong Kong-style joint with a similar menu. But the proof will be in the pork chop. For now, the one existing local alternative is Chinatown’s Excellent Pork Chop House. Hounds who have eaten there agree that it’s a distant second.
There also may be bad news for lovers of Philadelphia-style sandwiches. Tony Luke’s, the two-year-old Hell’s Kitchen outpost of a Philly eatery, has become a saloon and sandwich shop called Shorty’s. The owner is the same–though he’s severed his ties with Tony Luke’s–and the menu hasn’t changed much. But our first report suggests that Shorty’s comes up short. guttergourmet says the roast pork special (formerly dubbed the roast pork Italian) contains the same ingredients as before–pork, provolone, broccoli rabe–but the cheese is now tasteless, the bread a limp, soggy mess, and the broccoli rabe has no garlic. “I almost cried,” he confesses.
SobaKoh [East Village]
309 E. 5th St., between 2nd and 1st Aves., Manhattan
Sobaya [East Village]
229 E. 9th St., between 2nd and 3rd Aves., Manhattan
May Wah Fast Food [Chinatown]
190 Hester St., between Baxter and Mulberry, Manhattan
Excellent Pork Chop House [Chinatown]
3 Doyers St., between Pell and Bowery, Manhattan
Shorty’s Saloon [Clinton]
formerly Tony Luke’s Old Philly Style Sandwiches
576 9th Ave., between W. 41st and 42nd Sts., Manhattan