Their location is also pretty inconvenient, so is their leek and meat soba worth calling in sick for?

Noodle restaurants in Tokyo aren’t hard to come by. Simply strolling through any station area will bring you to at least one or two hidden in a hole in the wall or under the train tracks. We’ve tasted a few unique kinds of noodle bowls, like the penis noodle bowl or the beer mug of noodles, but recently we wanted to taste a more authentic style of Japanese soba, so we headed to a soba and udon joint in northwest Tokyo called Negidon.

To get there, we had to plan very carefully, because this restaurant is not convenient. It’s located off the beaten path in Tokyo’s Senzoku neighborhood, ten minutes from any nearby stations, and not close many major business areas or landmarks. The closest stations are the Tsukuba Express Line’s Asakusa Station or Hibiya Line Iriya Station, but the restaurant lies more in between stations than close to one.

It’s also only open for lunch Monday through Thursday, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., just four and a half hours per day, which makes it challenging for the ordinary office worker to visit. But that’s why we had to check it out.

Negidon’s faded green sign, makes it look like an old restaurant with some serious history. It looks small, but the interior is just slightly bigger than expected; it’s a standing-only shop, with room for 10 people at the counter and three people at a table by the window.

The noodles here are a little bit pricey compared to most noodle restaurants. A simple kake soba, or plain soba in a hot broth, costs 420 yen (US$3.70), while the kakiage ten soba, which has a deep-fried mass of onions and shrimp on top, was 550 yen. Wondering if the quality matches the price, we chose the alluring negi niku soba, which is topped with leeks and pork (650 yen).

What we got was a bowl of thin soba noodles with plenty of meat and onions, which has a refreshing smell that wafts up through your nostrils. The dark colored broth made the onions look delicious, so, barely waiting long enough to snap some photos, we scooped some noodles with our chopsticks and slurped up a mouthful right away.

It’s absolutely delicious. With every bite, the taste of the broth slowly seeps out, leaving a juicy, meaty, rich mouthful. And when we went to sip the broth…

Mmm! The deliciously rich flavor just spreads to every corner of the mouth. The taste of soy sauce is strong, but it doesn’t make the broth boring at all. On the contrary, there’s a depth to it that makes you want to drink more and more. The delicious meatiness of the pork melded together with the richness of the broth just melts over the tongue.

That delectable broth has also thoroughly seeped into the noodles, which supply their own mild, yet distinctive, buckwheat flavor. The more you eat, the more the flavors of the whole bowl become one. Delightful pork, aromatic leeks, deliciously rich broth, and light soba noodles come together to make something truly supreme. It’s well worth the price.

It’s also worth skipping work to eat. The little bit of guilt you might feel about pretending to be sick, plus the sense of freedom you might get from casting off the chains of employment, might add an additional special spice to an already delicious noodle bowl, and make a flavor you might not be able to get anywhere else. Anyone with a sense of adventure and a taste for noodles would enjoy calling in sick to have lunch at this noodle shop.

Now, of course, we at SoraNews24 don’t recommend you play hooky just for a bowl of noodles; we’re just saying it’s worth it. What you do with this information, well, that’s up to you. If you want some good soba but have called in sick one too many times, however, it might be better to check out Kawaichi in Akihabara, whose noodles are just as delicious, and whose location and opening hours are a little bit more convenient.

Restaurant information:
Negidon / ねぎどん
Tokyo-to, Taito-ku, Senzoku 1-17-9
Open 10:30 a.m.03 p.m. (Monday-Thursday)
Closed Friday-Sunday, holidays

Photos ©SoraNews24