There is a little soba shop across the street from our favorite cafe called Jizaian. Jizai means freedom, An means place. So I think this place means place of freedom. The owner also had his motto up above the counter-- "asobu, dousei jinsei wa hima tsubushi"--play because life is to kill time.
This was our first time to try this place so we didn't really know what to expect.
There was a line out front when we got there, which was always a good sign in Japan. After waiting a little while, we were able to get seats inside.
There are only 16 seats, 6 at the counter and 2 tables for 4 people and 1 table for 2. The owner prepares the dishes one by one, so be prepared to wait for your order.
Satoshi had their tempura soba. Hot broth with two pieces of fried shrimp and a fried piece of nori. The shrimp were wrapped in green shiso (perilla)--1070 yen (about US$10.70). Satoshi said he like this dish, the tempura wasn't really oily or heavy feeling.
I chose the tenzaru. Cold soba served with a side of tempura. I really enjoyed the tempura, there was corn, shrimp wrapped in shiso, fresh shiitake & shishito (Japanese green pepper). The soba was al dente, not mushy like some other places serve it--1370 yen (about US$13.70)
At the end of the meal they brought a pot of sobayu. This is the water that the soba is boiled in. You are supposed to put it into your dashi (soup) or tsuyu (dipping sauce), this is to dilute the soup/sauce so that you can drink it up. I've had bad experiences with this in the past, it has tasted like perspiration to me...blah. I had Satoshi drink it for me.
I think we'll try this place again on a weekday, when hopefully it won't be so crowded.
Closed on Wednesdays
UPDATE:not sure when this place closed down, but as of October 2011, it is no longer there