Soba Asian Bistro (2009)

Review by Lisa Anne

After a gorgeous day viewing the cherry blossoms around the Capitol and a trip to Willamette University to attend the first annual Sakura Masturi (Cherry Blossom Festival), I decided some Japanese food sounded good. After walking downtown looking for a Japanese place that was open (Fuji didn't open till 4pm), we ended up at the smallish Soba Asian Bistro on State Street.

Walking in, I couldn't help thinking what a cool place it was. The room is long and thin, with lots of natural light. Remnants of the building as it was back in the early 1900s, showed through in the brick walls and painted copper ceiling tiles. We walked up to the counter and ordered our food. They have so many types of noodles, from many countries, it was hard to choose one. In addition, you can also choose from their smaller dim sum menu for appetizers. I noticed they also had some great choices of beer and sake. My husband and I told the girl at the counter our choices for lunch, paid, then went and found a seat.

Each table had pictures and information for an Asian country. We sat at the Bali/Indonesia table. As we sat and waited for our food, a few more customers came in. Thats when we noticed that the girl who took our order was also the cook this afternoon. It didn't take long for our food to come out. It was steaming hot and both me and my husband has to wait a bit to start eating. The girl was very capable of handling the front of the restaurant and the kitchen though the new customers had to wait a little over 5 minutes to order.

I ordered the Singapore Street Noodles. Everything was well cooked, including the shrimp and chicken. It all tasted great! I would have liked a few more spices in the noodles to mellow out the chicken stock taste. I don't know if this would have made the dish more authentic, but more like Singapore noodles I've had before. I tasted my husband's Yakisoba noodles and thought the same. It was well cooked and tasted good, but could have used more spices.

After a while, the rest of the family that owned the Bistro walked in. It seems they were out shopping for the dinner rush and got back just in time to help with the mini afternoon rush. I'd like to try this place for dinner and maybe try a few more dishes before giving my ultimate opinion on the food. But for now, I'd say its tasty, but not perfect and probably not authentic. The restaurant was clean and looks like a hip place to take a friend to lunch or a cool dinner joint. If you love noodles, you'll love this place!


Salem Dinner Table said...

Sounds good I'd like to try it. Looks like they are a chain of 5 restaurants in Oregon.
Looking at their menu on-line it looks like the more spicy items are prefaced by the word "spicy". Did they have any sauces at the counter or on the table to add to the food? I'll bet if you asked for it spicy next time they would accomadate you.

KandN said...

Ah! But we can claim it as our own, since all 5 of their restaurants are in Oregon. :>) The interior looks relaxing and well put together.

Sam I Am said...

Authentic or not, the Noodle Soup of Asia with Wontons is one of my favorite dishes in Salem on a gray, rainy day. Mmm!

Lise M said...

Sam I Am: I'll have to try the soup next time. It caught my attention on the menu Saturday with its awe-inspiring name. Its a great noodle place, I just wanted to warn those who wanted authentic food.

M2D: Sorry, didn't mean spicy, I meant spices. Singapore Noodles I've had had many different flavors/spices like curry and tumeric that weren't present in the dish I had.

I liked the restaurant a lot. I love hip little places and it makes it even better that the owners appeared to care so much about service and quality.

'laina said...

What were the prices like? Have you been to Fuji Rice Time, before? If so, what is the quality/flavor like compared to FRT? I'm gonna try and talk the fam into trying this the next time we're in a Japanese mood. Thanks for the review?

Emily said...

I like it there -- good food, fast, decent prices. It's not super fancy, or presented interestingly, or really that interesting, but when I'm hungry and don't want to spend a lot of time or money, it hits the spot.

Anonymous said...

I won't be going back? Who puts curry in the Pad Thai? EPIC EPIC FAIL!!!

Anonymous said...

Funny, some of my co-workers went to SOBA today for lunch upon my recommendation. Haven't been myself in a while, but loved the soup I had and also the noodle dish. Gotta go back again. Love it there.

Lise M said...

Anon.. April 8, 2009 8:43 PM: They don't state on their menu that they use curry in the Pad Thai. It says peanut sauce. Did you see something I didn't see at the restaurant?

'laina: The prices are on average $6.00 an entree, pretty normal for noodle or rice bowl places I've been to. I havn't been to FRT. Its where we wanted to go on Saturday but they weren't open yet. Most of my friends/family don't like Japanese food so I'll have to beg for a few more weeks before someone gives in again. ;)