Tempura and soba: Separately, they're two essential elements of traditional Japanese food culture. Put them together side by side on the table and they add up to one of the all-time classic dishes.

Even at its most basic — at a stand-and-slurp noodle counter, say, on a station platform — it's a winning combination. But prepared with care, diligence and quality ingredients, the combination is one of the modest masterpieces of Japanese cuisine. That's the way it's done at Teuchisoba Narutomi.

More than eight years has passed since noodle-master Masaaki Narutomi opened his eponymous restaurant on the furthest fringe of Ginza. He chose a quiet location, on a side street that is closer to Tsukiji Market than the bright lights and temples of consumer spending on Ginza's main drag. That does not deter the aficionados: Narutomi produces some of the finest teuchi (handmade) soba noodles in the city.