Thursday, December 20, 2012

Soba Sojibo, Torrance - Quick Visit

After the surprising good quick meal at Ichimi-An, I finally found Soba Sojibo in a nearby mall that I had driven by twice (argh!). Light searching "そじ坊" later on google, it seems they are a chain from Japan under the larger Gurume Kinuya umbrella, the same group responsible for both Mugimaru and DonDon-Tei in the Mitsuwa Costa Mesa food court. Things then started to connect and make sense.

[$7.50 Lunch Zaru Soba Combination (shown, Mentai-tororo-don) at Sojibo.]

The interior is warm and very welcoming, done quite nice with even a few private rooms in the back for larger parties. The menu is without any udon and completely soba-centered with several tempura and donburi rice bowls to be had along as a combo or a la carte. They were all so tempting! And at least for lunch priced attractively.

I was torn between the duck Kamo Nanban, Curry Nanban, and as for sides maybe the Negitoro-don and your basic Oyako-don. The latter only because you often hear katsu and oyako-dons are good at sobaya's due to their usually superior dashi.

[Complimentary Fried Soba Chips at Sojibo.]

On top of these there are also daily specials where the weekend day I was visiting it happened to be with a buta-bara pork bowl. Since it was again a first visit, I went with a simple Zaru Soba for the same reasons of gauging the flavors, but I do happen to like the dipping cold zaru or seiro style given the choice between the hot.

What I immediately noticed was that of the mentsuyu condiments (called yakumi), the wasabi was a raw grated nama type, something usually seen served with higher end sushi and sashimi. The soba noodles themselves were pretty decent, a good notch above off-shelf, but easily paled in comparison to Ichimi-An's. After asking, the proprietary noodles were said to be made fresh in-house, but mechanically and not teuchi in the purist sense. Still I feel they were a leap forward from those near textureless soba served at most mom-n-pop or express shops.

[Mentai-tororo-don (Spicy Cod Roe with Grated Mountain Yam over Rice) side.]

The Mentai-tororo-don was nice and fresh tasting too. I enjoy on occasion Teriyaki Chicken and California Rolls as much as the next person but it's refreshing to have these non-cookie cutter Japanese as options for a change. I poured over some of the leftover mentsuyu and slurped it up with chopsticks lips-to-bowl. The remaining dip I'd dilute with some soba-yu (starchy water used to boil the noodles) to have as a final light tsuyu flavored soup.

While strictly soba speaking I have to say I preferred the wonderfully resilient シコシコ noodles (and quaint atmosphere) of Ichimi-An, it's bargain city at Sojibo for lunch and I can easily see myself dining here again. Again it's all about having options and while I dream of having something like Ichimi-An in SD, I'd more than welcome Sojibo if they ever decided to expand here too.

Soba Sojibo, 1757 W. Carson St., Torrance, CA


Jocelyn + Cathy said...

MMmm, the soba looks delicious. Happy Holidays!!

Dennis K. said...

Hi Jocelyn + Cathy! I much prefer the soba at Ichimi-an but Sojibo has some bargain lunch sets that are tempting. Happy Holidays to you all too!