First Look: Miyabi on 45th

I spent the latter part of 2012 counting down the days for when I could slurp up some of Mutsuko Soma’s handmade soba again.  That moment befittingly arrived shortly after the Lunar New Year, when she invited me to check out a sneak preview of her culinary creation, Miyabi on 45th.

Opening day is today, otherwise known as everyone’s favorite or most hated Hallmark Holiday, Valentine’s Day.  Doors at this Wallingford Japanese hit open at 4:30pm with reservations accepted for parties of six or more.

Located where Rain Sushi used to reside, Soma has injected some fun elegance into her new spot

Miyabi is setting the bar for restaurant openings in 2013 for the reasons below:

1) Selection of soba: Miyabi is a haven for soba lovers.  Offering the most comprehensive selection of soba to rival my favorite soba shops in Tokyo (seven varieties of cold soba with dipping sauce and eight noodles in hot broth), Soma grinds the Washington-grown buckwheat noodles by hand.

Vegetarians will find thoughtful menu items such as the Truffle Kinoko,  a cold soba with a hot dipping broth of mushroom and black truffle oil, while carnivores will have a hard time deciding between the Beef Cheeck Curry Nanban (braised beef cheek in Japanese curry sauce) and the Kamonanban (duck breat meat ball, leek, yuzu zest).  Pescatarians will relish seafood soba options such as the Fukagawa Seiro with clam, leeks, and garlic.

The pork belly and the perfectly-cooked egg equally vie for my attention

For you natto (fermented soy bean) lovers, let’s start a fan club!  Natto is an acquired taste, mainly because its consistency reminds people of snot, but Chef Soma reminds people the consumption of natto is highly nutritious and one of the Superfood secrets for staying young.

Bukkake style Natto soba with fermented soy bean, cucumber, bonito flakes, negi, nori, egg yolk, and sesame seeds

2) Uni shot: ‘Nuff said.

Sea urchin, quail egg, wasabi, ponzu

3) The bar manager: For you cultish people who miss Elemental as much as I do, Sean Becktel, who used to hold down the fort at Elemental Next Door, is tending bar.  He promises cocktails with absinthe (his preferred alcoholic beverage) and a variety of both non-alcoholic and alcoholic shrubs.  I coveted Sean’s raspberry port shrub so much I almost gulped it all down in one shot.

I also recommend trying a sampler of Sean’s house infusion.  My favorites: the Horseradish Shochu, the Sweet Milk Liqueur  and the Coffee Vanilla Cachaca.

4) Oysters:  I have always asserted Totten Inlets and Olympias are great on their own, but when topped with ikura (salmon roe) and a side of Soma’s housemade ponzu and mignonette, they achieve a new level of majestic greatness.

Pictured: Totten Inlet (the Big Chucks) and Olympias (the little Johns)

5) Dessert: The choices include buckwheat panna cotta with housemade kumquat syrup, creme brulee, and pumpkin cheesecake.  Although the bountiful selection of appealing savory dishes such as the monkfish karage (deep-fried, garlic soy marinated monkfish tail) and the sweet miso-cured fois gras will tempt your belly to go overboard, make room for dessert.

Creme brulee with fried soba and ginger ice cream

 

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