To get here, wind your way through the backstreets south of Shimokitazawa station for about 10 minutes – you’ll know you’ve reached Dashinsoan when you spot a traditional wooden gate fitted with noren curtains, and behind it a remarkably lush garden. Inside the soba specialty restaurant, the dining room is bright, spacious and serene, with large glass walls overlooking gardens and a leafy courtyard. In one corner of the light-filled open dining area, you’ll find the room where soba noodles are made fresh each morning, and the large granite grinder for making fresh buckwheat flour.
Choose from a range of staples and seasonal soba, served both hot and cold. We love the yuba (tofu skin) soba, with al dente noodles and in a dashi broth (¥1,800). The yuba, also made in-house, lends a delicately creamy element. Other favourites are the fragrant mitsuba (Japanese wild parsley) soba for ¥1,450, the duck and green onion soba (¥2,100), and the summer special sudachi (Japanese lime) soba, served in a cold broth and topped with a layer of sliced sudachi (¥1,850).
The sides make the meal a little pricey if you’re dining solo, but if you can share with a friend, it works out well. We recommend the tender grilled scallops (¥1,700 for two large scallops), the crispy mixed vegetable and prawn tempura (¥2,300), the burdock tempura (¥1,000) – it looks and tastes like earthy root vegetable fries – and the ohitashi, seasonal vegetables cooked until tender in dashi (¥1,300). With excellent food and service, and a tranquil setting, Dashinsoan is a nourishing experience.