The Totto miniempire, best known for yakitori and other Japanese grilled bites, tries buckwheat noodles at its fourth and newest restaurant, Soba Totto. bigjeff says it’s sensational, particularly an extravagant cold soba with 13 vegetable and seafood toppings, a dish so special the kitchen makes only 10 servings per night; “it was so delicious, so many flavors, looking beautiful,” he sighs.
A simpler variation, goma dare soba (in sesame broth), is also very good, ginsbera writes. Soba dishes come in two sizes, regular and oomori, or large, and the latter is one enormous bowl of noodles, jeff adds.
Like its sister restaurants—Yakitori Totto, Yakitori Torys, and Aburiya Kinnosuke—Soba Totto offers the signature grilled skewers of chicken, other meats, and vegetables. jeff and a friend tried around 10, including shiitake, asparagus-bacon, chicken wing, chicken thigh, and chicken meatball—all of them terrific, especially the meatball, or tsukune. Overall, he concludes, it’s “an absolute pleasure to dine here.”
On the Upper East Side, Lau has unearthed a sleeper in Inase, a little-discussed sushi place that lays out a first-rate and unusually generous omakase meal. He ranks it among the top 10 sushi spots in New York, comparable to the well-regarded Ushiwaka Maru. “The sushi was very solid (not Yasuda good, but definitely high quality) and they gave me so much food it was ridiculous,” he writes.
The $80 omakase (other options are $60 and $100) included miso soup, a lotus root appetizer, a pork belly and bamboo dish, chawan mushi (steamed savory custard) topped with uni, 12 pieces of sashimi, 12 pieces of sushi, and a salmon-skin hand roll. Standouts among the seafood included medium-fatty toro, horse mackerel, saltwater eel, Spanish mackerel, botan ebi (jumbo sweet shrimp), and giant clam (one piece sashimi, another slightly cooked). Quite possibly the “best price / value / quality sushi restaurant in the city,” Lau concludes.
Across town, Tomo receives little hound love for its sushi. But its gyoza are a different story, says sholli, who judges them “some of the best I’ve had outside of Japan. They’re clearly made in house, they’re not all doughy like many, and they’re clearly not prefrozen or in a noodle-like wrapper.”
“Skip everything else,” sholli adds, “but gyoza and beer from Tomo turn out to be a fantastic pre-dinner treat!!”
Soba Totto [Midtown East]
211 E. 43rd Street (between Second and Third avenues), Manhattan
Inase [Upper East Side]
1586 First Avenue (between E. 82nd and 83rd streets), Manhattan
Tomo [Morningside Heights]
2850 Broadway (between W. 110th and 111th streets), Manhattan