木鉢会 美味しい蕎麦をお探しの方へ



東京で暮らし始めてそろそろ20年になりますが、根津に住んでいるので麻布十番にはあまり来ることがなくて、この商店街を歩くのも久しぶり。 昔ながらの風情の店もあれば、最近できたと思われる斬新な店もあって、ショッピングもグルメも目移りして困るほどですね! 

Today I visited Sarashina Horii in Azabu-Juban. It’s been 20 years since I moved to Tokyo, but I live in Nezu and don’t go to Azabu-Juban very often, so it’s been a long time since I walked through the busy street lined with both rustic-looking shops and shops that look as if they were built yesterday. Whether shopping or eating, there are too many stores to choose from!

[Photo: An outside view of the shops]


One shop that caught my eye was Sarashina Horii. Located on a street level, it has a subdued appearance, like something from the streets of a bygone era.
You’ll have to stand in line on weekends, but if you skip the lunch hour on weekdays, you’ll probably get seated right away. Spacious with room for 70, there are both Western and Japanese style tablesーJapanese style for me.

[Photo: Tamagoyaki]


First, I ordered the tamagoyaki egg that comes with the lunchtime beer. Delicious!
It gets its sweetness from fish stock, and the sweetish flavor was just how I like it. But this is just get your palate ready for the soba noodles.

[Photo: Mori soba]


First, I ordered mori soba with duck soup for dipping. The handmade soba noodles are pre-Edo style made with flour ground on a mortar in the restaurant.

ワオ! 蕎麦が運ばれてきた途端に、思わず声をあげてしまいました。赤い塗りの器に盛りつけられた蕎麦のきれいなこと!
早速、何もつけずにそのまま数本いただきます。 蕎麦のいい香りが鼻に抜けます! 続いて、鴨汁につけて食べてみます。
ワオ! 鴨のおいしさが出た漬け汁は濃厚な味わいですが、脂っこさはまったくなくて蕎麦によく合います。

When the noodles arrive, the natural response is “Wow!” The soba looks great in the red laquered boxes! Each of the noodles seems fresh and perfectly formed, and there’s something refined about the color and shape. I’ve attempted to make soba myself a few times, and it’s not an easy task.
I first tasted a few of the noodles without dipping them in sauce--this is how soba should taste! Next, I tried themp dipped in duck soup. “Wow!” again. The broth had a rich flavor from the duck meat, but it wasn’t oily at all and went great with the soba. Soba with duck soup is now my new favorite!

[Photo: Sarashina]


Sarashina soba comes next. The snow-white soba is beautifulーso beautiful I almost forgot to breath! I want to eat it right away, but...I force myself to take some photos first.


Sarashina Horii has both mild and richer dipping sauces.
Both of them use fresh bonito flakes stock, mixed with aged kaeshi noodle-sauce stock. Today, I tried the heavier flavored one.
Delicious… Matching the appearance, the flavor is also wonderful. I often hear that there’s a lot to learn about simple soba, and now I’m convinced!

[Photo: Kawari soba]

運ばれてきました。目の前がパッと明るくなるほど鮮やかな黄色の蕎麦です。これはユニーク! 汁につけて、口に運ぶと、のどの奥でかすかな香りがします。いつかどこかで食べたことがある懐かしい香り。


I had just enough room for one more dish, kawari soba, or soba of the day. On the day I went, it was sarashina soba made with gardenia, or, more specifically soba noodles made with water steeped with the slightly bitter gardenia fruit.
When the soba arrives, it’s such a bright yellow that it seems to light up the table. How unique!
When I dip the noodles and bring them to my mouth, the faint scent of gardenia touches the back of my throat. The somehow familiar scent reminds me of something I’ve eaten somewhere before, but it certainly doesn’t interfere with the flavor of soba.
The kawari soba changes one to three times a month, so there are 22 varieties in a year. This is another way the staff here goes out of their way to make the Sarashina Horii experience a little more enjoyable.

[Photo: Pamphlet]

お店のパンフ? いえいえ、違うんです。


While I take a rest on a full stomach, the master of Sarashina Horii brings me a pamphlet, but not about the long history of the restaurant.
“Soba is eaten with chopsticks, not fingers,” “Don’t pour the sauce on the noodles,” “Dip one third of the length of the noodles into the sauce,” “Slurp the soba, don’t chew it,” “Drink the soba broth”... It’s clever illustrations and explanations in easy-to-understand English on the proper way to eat soba. It also includes information on the nutritional value of soba and how to use chopsticks.

これは便利! そして楽しい! やっぱり江戸っ子のお蕎麦屋さんは粋だなあ。
Convenient, fun and deliciousーtraditional Edo-style soba is something you don’t want to miss.

[Photo: soba-zushi]

[Photo: mixed vegetable and seafood tempura]

[Photo: A commemorative photo with the owner, Horii-san]

■David Thayne(デイビッド・セイン) プロフィール


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