so after one of my regular trips to ichimi-an honten today (all too infrequent as the siren song of santoka ramen typically lures me away from everything else in the area) i've decided it's time to let the cat out of the bag for all the soba hounds on these boards.
i've seen this little place in torrance mentioned here in passing but it seems to be a relatively undiscovered find so far.
let's just say that, IMHO, ichimi-an has the best cold soba in all of southern california, and yep, that includes even otafuku! as far as i know, it's not the popular sarashina-style like otafuku serves but a handmade soba with a uniquely springy texture and taste that puts it in a class of its own.
the japanese expat community seems to agree as the place was voted as having 'the best soba in L.A.' according to one of their magazines.
they also do it a little differently - zaru soba is the only one that's served with a dipping sauce. most of their cold soba comes in a flavorful cold broth with your choice of toppings (for my money it's all about the mentai-oroshi, which they seem to also be somewhat known for - spicy cod roe and grated daikon).
their hot soba is good too but i ultimately prefer the cold, since the hot broth negates some of the springy zip of the noodle's texture.
it might be a little intimidating at first since there's no english storefront sign and they only pull out the english menu when it's obvious you're a gaijin.
other than that it's simple and almost self-serve, a little hole-in-the-wall in old torrance downtown next to a foster's freeze and a french-vietnamese bakery. although i've never seen the place packed, they must do well enough as they've opened a second shop in rolling hills.
if you've been there, post your thoughts! if not, give it a try and i'm curious to see what you guys think.