On Saturday afternoon I planned to go to a new Thai/Vietnamese spot in the East Village called Tigerland. Unfortunately I got there at around 1pm, and found out it wasn't open until 5:30. I decided to head to a Soba spot I passed along the way on 5th Street between Second and First Ave called Soba Koh.

I was the only one there which was ok, although I got a tad nervous that the waiter and waitress would be staring at me as I ate each bite. The decor is very wooden. Wooden chairs, wooden walls, it reminded me of a sleeker version of Tomoe Sushi (172 Thompson Street); very authentic Japanese. It whisked me away out of the East Village, to the outskirts of Tokyo (although random hipsters walking by the window killed this fantasy at times.) Not being a big time consumer of Soba, I told the waitress that this was my first time there, and asked her for a recommendation. She recommended the Lunch Bento Box, which was $17.00. I took her recommendation. This was truly a great lunch. The bento came with homemade buckwheat soba noodles along with a dipping sauce. The noodles are very fresh, for they have a noodle-maker in a room behind a glass pane, where I could view him making the noodles. Also in the box was an egg omelet (tomago) with various japanese vegetables, seaweed, a special rice dish, tempura (shrimp, eel, vegetable). The eel was amazing, I had never had it tempura style, and it was delicious. Also in the box were two pieces of grilled chicken. Mid-meal the waitress came by and added some broth to the dipping sauce, turning it into a nice soup. I ended the meal with some refreshing green tea ice cream.

I definitely recommend this place. It's one of the best restaurants under $25 in NYC. It truly is a great find!

Soba Koh
309 E. 5th Street
New York, NY 10003