Echizen Soba Togo
In the land of Murakami, the equivalent of the Proustian madeleine is smoking hot bubbling broth…. A native of the Fukui Prefecture (named Echizen during the Edo period) in coastal Japan, Keiko Matsui is reviving the dashi of her childhood with a katsuobushi (smoked bonito) base. She makes a broth that’ll move you, one that’s perfect for dipping homemade soba (silky buckwheat noodles) into, served either hot or cold, and savored seated at the bar or around the long light oak table d’hôte that dresses up the space. The day we went for lunch, there was a choice between four options, and we opted for a €16 combo: Tanuki, a big bowl of smoking hot soba with petals of tempura that’ll have you singing “mamma mia umani,” with a good bowl of rice and candy-like tonkatsu (fried breaded pork). Before this wellness-inducing treat, nibble on a gigantic onsen tamago (an egg poached in Japanese broth, topped with seaweed and chives, €4), or a very fresh nishin, smoked herring in a rich sweet and savory sauce (€8). Looking for a sweet finish? It’s a dessert desert! Wash it all down with a Jugetsudo green tea (€4), Kirin on tap (€5) or a sharp Echizen Keigetsu Tokubetsu Junmai sake (€11 for 110 ml). Set menu €16, soba €10-20, à la carte €14-30. // M.J.-D.