Ramen gets all the hype, but soba—Japanese buckwheat noodles served hot or cold—satisfy another, unsung niche for noodle fanatics. The Japanese chain's second US outpost—the first opened its doors in Torrance last spring—features an open kitchen, L-shaped bar outfitted in red, black and white tiles and red drum-shaped lanterns. Sojibo’s menu is varied, including "quick bites” such as fried gobo (burdock root) sticks and an entire section devoted to kushiage (deep-fried, panko-crusted skewers). But the main draw is clearly soba, nutty, housemade noodles. Start simply with zaru soba ($7)—cold nori-topped soba appears on a plastic mat with dipping broth that benefits from scallions and wasabi, served alongside. Upgrade with versions served with jumbo shrimp, sliced duck and, if you’re feeling adventurous, natto (fermented soy beans). Dessert is uncomplicated—choose vanilla, green tea, black sesame or lychee-flavored ice cream by the scoop ($2) or tempura-battered and deep-fried ($5).
Photograph: Victor Leung Bacon-wrapped asparagus at Robata-ya
Photograph: Victor Leung Chicken kara-age at Robata-ya
Photograph: Victor Leung Gyoza at Robata-ya
Photograph: Victor Leung Robata-ya
2004 Sawtelle Blvd
|Opening hours:||Tue-Thu 11:30am–2:30pm, 5:30–10:30pm; Fri 11:30am–2:30pm, 5:30-11:30pm; Sat 5:30-11:30pm; Sun 5:30-10:30pm|