The pleasures of the legendary sarashina soba at Otafuku are subtle—awfully subtle, for fans of the more rustic brown noodles.
Both are made from buckwheat, but the sarashina soba is made with refined buckwheat flour, so it’s white instead of brown and more delicate in flavor. Both kinds are kneaded by hand in small batches by Otafuku’s owner, Seiji Akutsu.
The noodles are as perfectly al dente as soba can be (different from wheat-based noodles) and near perfect temperature, raves TonyC, making an ideal match for the funky dipping broth and freshly grated wasabi. As you eat your way through the dish, the broth, thinned with some of the soba water, turns into a refreshing sort of soup.
But pleasurepalate, a soba newbie, couldn’t quite see what all the fuss is about, though she came prepared to appreciate Akutsu’s artistry.
Dommy felt the same, concluding that she prefers the rustic imported fresh soba she usually buys from Nijiya.
But the tempura is excellent—light, crunchy, and nongreasy. A vegetarian assortment includes yam, squash, eggplant, enoki mushroom, and shiso leaf.
Sea eel tempura is a huge fillet, the meat delicate and moist, the crust nice and crisp. It’s like a brilliant twist on fish and chips.
Otafuku [South Bay]
16525 S. Western Avenue, Gardena