Soba Pop at Breadbar
The week-long Soba Pop series followed a much longer ramen popup at Breadbar. Being the noodles crazy fiend I am, I checked it out last Thursday.
We started out with artisinal tofu. They sprinkled the bonito flakes at the table. This tofu was better than the tofu I had during the Yatai ramen popup but it wasn’t the best tofu I’ve had.
We opted to get everything a la carte. There were too many things on the menu we wanted to try. I had read someone really liking the summer pickles but I should have been more wary. By summer, I think they mean lightly marinated. These cucumber slices couldn’t really be called pickles.
The egg was good but at $6 for one egg, I rather have skipped it.
I have had kakuni pork at a number of places. It is usually served with a strong mustard. I stared at this dab and thought, “is this dijon?” Don’t get me wrong, it was good and I actually don’t like the stronger Japanese mustard but it was too funny to me. Dijon?!
They were out of the jidori chicken soba which was what I really wanted. I was going to go for the shrimp but ended up ordering the pork belly. Good thing too because the shrimp was proclaimed, “dinky- like the shrimp you get in a Cup o’ Noodles.” Uh oh! I do have to say it’s pretty wild looking. I had a bite and it was very crunchy.
The pork belly was a good bowl but wasn’t quite what I was looking for. I did like that the noodles looked “handmade.” No noodle was the same. Some were thicker and some were quite thin.
Generally the service at Breadbar on 3rd is better than the service at the Century City location. Perhaps because the popups I’ve been to here aren’t as nutty. However, this particular night was somewhat frustrating. Three sobas came out but it was hard to get across we were missing the kikouchi soba. This soba is “pure” which apparently meant it took longer to cook then to cool down. At $19, it arrives plain with a dipping sauce. Man, I don’t know about that. I just didn’t see the value in it. Even with the “vitamins” water they brought out (apparently when you cook soba, the vitamins (or what I gather, amino acids) are left behind which you pour back over your soba.
I wasn’t going to order dessert but since someone wanted to, we ended up with both the desserts. They were light and a good way to end the night. My fave was the plum jelly one.
Conclusion? I liked the Yatai ramen popup more. Pricing wise, the simple dishes like pork belly or egg were way overpriced. My bowl of pork belly soba was $24, a hard price to swallow even knowing the flour was imported all the way from Japan. Luckily though, they do teach soba making so if you’re in the mood to make your own soba, check ’em out.