Tadashi Hosokawa's eponymous restaurant stands just a minute’s walk from the Edo-Tokyo Museum, but the overarching ugliness of that building’s massive facade is thankfully shielded from sight by the time you reach the doorway. From the wide, low noren curtain of handspun white linen and the bank of shrubbery that conceals the window, you know before you even enter that Hosokawa serves his soba well dipped in refinement.
The sliding wooden door with its washi paper-covered panes; the walls clad in rough-textured mud a warm shade of ocher; the alcove with its simple flower arrangement: The motifs are as traditional as the materials. But the actual look and layout of the spacious dining room are nothing but contemporary.
There are no tatami mats, just four communal tables of polished hardwood, plus one more in a semi-private room to the side. These are easily large enough for everyone to stretch their elbows in comfort and, more importantly, to order plenty of dishes.
Noodles, of course, form the core of Hosokawa’s menu but, as at most artisan soba-ya, there is also an appetizing selection of starters prepared with a level of expertise that will impress even the most hardcore of soba aficionados. There is good sake to go with them, too.