Since we moved out of central Tokyo towards the west, a whole new area opened up for us to explore. The streets around our station offered a selection of good restaurants to start with and during the past year we gradually extended our search to areas within easy cycling distance. We were aided by recommendations from friends already living in our new neighbourhood, and it is time to share some of our best discoveries. I would like to start by introducing a soba restaurant near Shimokitazawa station.
‘Near’ is a slight exaggeration, as Dashinsoan is almost a kilometre to the south of the station, situated in the wide area between the Odakyu line and the Denentoshi line. Shimokita is the nearest station, but the road leading south does not seem long as there are interesting shops, restaurants and people to look at. This particular restaurant is well hidden though, down of a side street, in a residential area, across from Shinganji temple.
A tall tree is visible from a distance, but entering the small garden, the tree appears to stand behind the house, but when finally within the restaurant, one gradually realizes, that the huge trunk visible behind a low window at the back shows the same ancient tree standing in a small courtyard garden.
The menu is simple - small plates of tempura (fried seafood or vegetables), dashimaki tamago (egg omelette cooked with fish stock), hotate (scallop) in vinegar sauce, tofu and finally plates of hot or cold soba noodles. Each dish arrives at the table arranged on beautiful ceramic bowls.
There is a small, but good selection of sake to accompany the meal. Again, the katakuchi serving bowls and ochoko cups are beautiful, making it a pleasure just to handle them.
打心蕎庵 Dashinsoan contains a reference to handmade soba (手打ち蕎麦 teuchi soba) combining it with the character for heart (心 shin).
Food: 8/10 (excellent)
Ambiance: 7/10 (pleasant)
Price-performance: 8/10 (excellent value)
Address: 3-7-14 Daizawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo Tel: +81 (3) 5431-0141