At Soba Noodle Azuma in Fort Lee, I splurged on a filling lunch, Ten Sashi Gozen, with cold buckwheat noodles and dipping sauce, shrimp and vegetable tempura, sashimi, creamy egg tofu, rice and pickles.
My son chose a more modest lunch with hot noodle soup, listed on the menu as Shrimp and Vegetable Ball Soba. Both meals included 300 grams or about 10.5 ounces of buckwheat noodles, which are said to have numerous health benefits.
By VICTOR E. SASSON
Fort Lee is fast becoming the noodle-soup capital of New Jersey.
Japanese ramen, spicy Korean ramyun, anise-flavored Vietnamese pho, Malaysian fish head and good old-fashioned Jewish chicken noodle soup are among the options in a town once known only as the home of the George Washington Bridge.
Now, you also can enjoy a bowl of hot soup with a tasty vegetable broth and soba, a Japanese buckwheat noodle that claims to be the healthiest of all.
Soba Noodle Azuma on Main Street says it makes buckwheat noodles from scratch every day, and lists soba's many health benefits on the back of the menu:
Decreases cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, reduces "fat accumulation" and "promotes healthy bowel movements."
And if your soba meal breaks the logjam and has you rushing to the bathroom, Azuma offers imported multi-function toilets with bidet seats in both the men's and women's rooms.
Hot and cold soba
On Tuesday, I had lunch with my son at Soba Azuma, where we shared Ten Sashi Gozen ($24), and Shrimp and Vegetable Soba ($14.50).
The restaurant says that unlike a typical soba restaurant's 100-gram portion of noodles, it serves up to 300 grams of soba to customers for a set price.
One hundred grams is equal to about 3.5 ounces. Soba is said to have twice the protein of rice.
My lunch included cold soba noodles, raw tuna and salmon, shrimp and vegetable tempura, and the creamiest tofu I have ever had.
The firm, chewy noodles were delicious, as were the sashimi and tempura.
My son's lunch came with soba in a hot vegetable broth, but we found that if the noodles aren't eaten right away, they become soft and mushy.
On each table are red-pepper flakes, right, and soy sauce. The dining room, with about 30 seats, is clean and spare.
A server brings hot green tea and a snack of dried, salted soba noodles to welcome you.
You'll find a multi-function toilet-bidet from Japan in the men's and women's bathrooms, and they may be the first in any Fort Lee restaurant.
The opening of Soba Noodle Azuma in October is part of a recent resurgence of Japanese restaurants in Fort Lee, where Korean restaurants predominate.
Soba Noodle Azuma, 246 Main St., Fort Lee; 201-585-1319. Open 7 days from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., but closed between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
BYO, metered parking on street or in municipal lot.