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Herring Soba at Matsuba

Posted: 12/17/12

Herring Soba at Matsuba

Restaurant: Japan Matsuba 松葉

Nelson @ Kyoto: There are a lot of expensive restaurants in Kyoto where their specialty is kaiseki meals which are a series of small beautiful dishes similar to haute cuisine in french cooking. We didn't try this in Kyoto, but instead walked around for an hour trying to find a place to eat. We finally stumbled into this place because it looked like they sold soba noodles. Little did we know that Matsuba specifically specializes in Herring Soba - buckwheat noodles served with dried herring.

Thinking that I had missed out on a kaiseki meal, I ordered the closest thing I could find on the menu to a kaiseki meal - The groups of dishes for ¥2300/$27. The bottom right is some really really salty miso soup as was typical in Japan. Next to the soup is the dipping sauce for the tempura and in the bottom left is a huge bowl of rice

The tempura had some unique ingredients: white fish(good), shrimp, yam, whole skinny green peppers and shittake mushroom. But even more surprising was the sauce is just a mild broth and not the typical sweetened soy sauce

The soba was served cold with a bit of soy sauce. It was nice and refreshing but since I'm not a big fan of noodles it was only OK for me personally. The wasabi on top gave this dish a surprise kick.

This variety of items included tofu at bottom (obstructed), seaweed wrapping the dried herring again, and green fish jelly block (bottom right), snow peas, black fungus and block of fish paste in colourful star shape. Neat presentation.

On the right is dried Herring fish and horseradish mustard. I didn't like the horseradish mustard that much but the mixed up fish mixed up was excellent because is was not dry. We were starting to notice that the dried herring was appearing in almost every dish and finally clueing into the fact that it was this restaurant's specialty. Overall the fish is really well made with a great salty and pleasant fish taste with a very firm texture.

On the left the dried herring (again) and beans introduced some variety and yet another way to served dried herring.

These two are some pickled Japanese vegetables/seaweed.

The red bean dish was really really sweet....for an Asian dessert. The plain rice balls with absolutely no sugar (natural or otherwise) must have been there for balance.

For Kitty's meal, yet again we got lucky and randomly happened to order their specialty dish: Nishin soba AKA Herring Soba (¥1350/$16). Yes again. There were three large fish slices, and what looks like an egg but is actually our nemesis tororo with a yolk in the middle to make it look like an egg. The noodles and fish were good, but there was way too much tororo for our liking and once mixed up made the dish too mushy.

We had a lot of dried herring this meal which just happened to be this restaurant's specialty. I suppose we got lucky. It was good, but we didn't feel like buying any for home in their large store


Categories: Dessert,  Fish,  Japanese,  Seafood,  

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