Nobu Soba/Buckwheat ‘Risotto’

As Joel Robuchon said, “…to me a successful dish is taking something simple and making it exceptional”

I was introduced to this dish during a meal in the omakase room at Matsuhisa.  The ingredients could have simply been cooked in soy enhanced dashi, may be with the addition of mushrooms.  But in this case, Matsuhisa prepared it so that it took on characteristics of a risotto, finished with truffle oil.  It was one of those dishes I thought was simple yet profound.  The dish, as it was served to me, was topped with Kobe NY strip steak and finished with a drizzle the restaurant’s balsamic teriyaki dressing.  Here’s what the risotto looks like with Kobe NY Strip Steak and Miso Anticucho Sauce as it was served to me in Matsuhisa’s omakase room:

Soba Risotto, Kobe NY Strip, Miso Anticucho in Matsuhisa Omakase Room

Since that dinner, this has been one of my favorite go-to dishes that I like to make at home. In a telephone conversation with chefs at Matsuhisa, they told me with a delighted laugh that my home choice of O-toro, cooked like the Kobe NY Strip Steak, would be ‘even better!’.  As I understand it, one the ways can be served is with pan seared fish on top (Nobu Miami served pan seared Arctic Char on top of the risotto as part of New Year’s Eve 2008 omakase menu).

Here’s the online link to the essential recipe  (soba-soba-soba risotto)

I pretty much follow the recipe, with the following changes –
a. I don’t use the soba noodles nor the soba sprouts
b. He uses 16 oz dashi, I use 10.   After having this dish in the omakase room, I find that 16 oz leaves the dish very watery.  10 oz seems result in the same dish that I was served at Matsuhisa in LA in the omakase room.
c. The dish uses 50g (1 3/4oz) enoki and 50g (1 3/4 oz) shimeji mushrooms which  either are sometimes hard to find. I find using the 4oz mixed mushrooms package from Whole Foods a good substitute.
d. arrowroot is sometimes hard to get; so I adapted the use of the cornstarch as above that seems to result in the same dish served at Matsuhisa. I use 2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with 4 tablespoons of water.
e. For the salt/pepper – I use 1/2 teaspoon of a 4:1 salt/pepper mix

Here’s what the home version looks like (served with pan seared hamachi) –


Nobu Soba Risotto With Pan Seared Hamachi done at home


Hulled Buckwheat Groats – Whole Foods, Newtonville, MA

La Tourangelle White Truffle Oil – Marty’s Liquors, Newtonville, MA

Sushi Grade Hamachi – H-Mart, Burlington, MA

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