For a food with such a long and venerable history, udon gets surprisingly short shrift in Tokyo. Sure, it's not hard to find these long, chunky, white wheat noodles. But compared with the many artisan soba-ya serving handcrafted buckwheat noodles, there are very few outstanding udon restaurants. At least there is Kamachiku.

First off, the setting is more than special, it's unique. Where else in the city can you sit down to eat inside a century-old redbrick kura (storehouse), least of all one that's been refurbished with such style and contemporary sensitivity? Throw in a secluded location with a garden view and it adds up to an understated classic.

The neighborhood is Nezu, an area of narrow alleys still imprinted with the memory of the way things were before Tokyo became a modern megalopolis. From the main thoroughfare, Shinobazu-dori, you just take a couple of turns into the low-rise residential backstreets and you reach the stately two-story building that houses Kamachiku.