Chicken Oyster, Anyone?

| 02 Mar 2015 | 04:28

    i had read about soba totto's everything-from-the-chicken yakitoris (such as "chicken oysters," taken from the "rare" part of the chicken thigh), so i was curious, but not without trepidation, as the times square shuttle hurtled me to my destination.

    once inside this hushed mahogany-toned restaurant, i felt brave enough to nibble the juicy "soft chicken knee bone" ($3.50), but i couldn't bring myself to crunch the knee bones, strung, like popcorn, along a wooden skewer. i happily gobbled four fatty chunks of berkshire pork sprinkled with brilliant green scallion and accented with "ponzu," a citrusy soy sauce ($4), plus a veggie yakitori: three half moons of woodsy, charred shitake mushrooms ($3). the least adventurous and most delicious was fatty bacon wrapped around steamed asparagus, grilled to perfection ($4). since fresh buckwheat soba noodles are the centerpiece, i had a bowl of hot soba ($8). the menu says soba has "rutin and vitamin p," "polyphenols" that prevent "lifestyle disease." whatever-the combo of smoky broth, chewy noodles and vinegary sweet fried tofu ($1) tastes damn good. what sprinkles and reese's pieces are to ice cream, fried tofu, daikon radishes and quail eggs are to soba: mix-ins. as you might suspect, i couldn't bring myself to eat a quail egg.

    *yakitoris are only available at dinner. eat them in the bar unless you're having a quick bite, as there's a $20 minimum in the restaurant. -- soba totto* 211 e. 43rd st. (near third avenue) 212-557-8200

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