Sunday, October 26, 2008

10/2/08: Sakagura and Matsugen

My friends invited me to go to the new and highly acclaimed soba restaurant Matsugen for dinner. Before heading over, I stopped by Sakagura as they had Saké Day special offering some Daiginjo-grade sakés at $10 per glass.

I had 2 glasses. My choices were Wataribuné Junmai Daiginjo and Tatsuriki Junmai Daiginjo. I chose two very different styles - Wataribuné for more intense and frutiy flavor and Tatsuriki for its subtle but deep and long character.

In the fall, matsutaké tempura is a must!

I also had minced chiken and eggplant served in dashi, before I was off to Matsugen.


Matsugen is located in Tribeca on Church Street. One of the investor is Jean-George. They are highly acclaimed for their hand-made soba. The hand-made process begins with milling the buckwheat flour.

Yuba sashimi had a very delicate texture, cross between a firm tofu and egg omelet. While delicious, I thought it lacked the firm texture of yuba. This was followed by Wagyu Salad with sesame dressing, which was good.

Steamed Sea Eel with Ginger and Cucumber was delicious.

The next dish was Tokyo Clam Chowder with Soy Milk. While it tasted fine, the lightness of the soup was not a departure from a definition of a chowder.

The selection of the evening was the dry Suigei Tokubetsu Junmai from Kochi Prefecture in Shikoku.

Glass used to serve Suigei.

The highlight of the evening was their soba. I found out that they had a sampler to try three different types of soba with three different types of sauces. "Triple Threat" is not on the menu, and it features Seiro, Rin, and Inaka soba with regular dipping sauce, sesame dipping sauce, and duck dipping sauce.

Seiro is to the left, and it is the common style you would get at any restaurant. In the center is Rin, which is the very finely milled version, soba's equivalent to a ginjo or daiginjo. To the right is the coarse Inaka, soba's equivalent to kimoto. Of the three, I enjoyed Inaka the most, while Rin was preferred by couple others in our party.

The dessert was grapefruit jello, on the house.

The restaurant is still new, so as a diner, I sensed that it is not operating quite at peak efficiency just yet. However, the potential is evident. In terms of the meal, there were some hit and misses, but when it comes to soba, they just may serve the best soba in the City.

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