by Ken Tsui | Kinome Japanese Kitchen sits on a quiet West Side strip — the old Dan location, to be exact (2511 W Broadway). With its understated frontage, the charming restaurant is easily overlooked, but once you’ve spent an evening in its cozy, rustic embrace exploring the menu (either a la carte of $50 omakase), you’ll never ever have trouble finding it again.
Owned by Dan’s former chef, Ryoma Matarai, Kinome serves up a rotating, succinct menu of delicate small, sharable plates made with locally sourced, organic ingredients. There’s sashimi, dashi omelettes, chicken yakitori, karaage, and the like, but the housemade buckwheat soba noodles steal the show.
Cold buckwheat soba is typically brought to the table as the final dish of a meal, so be sure to end your dinner on a high note by trying Kinome’s own. The toothsome noodles are served alongside a rich dashi broth made with freshly shaved smoked bonito (have the dashi poured over the noodles as Asakusa soba or as my personal favourite, Kamo Siero soba — a dipping noodle with a warm duck-infused dashi served on the side).
Pro-tip: order a bottle of sake and the server will bring out a tray of eclectic sake cups from Japan. Choosing one to drink from feels like a playful personality test…