Food

The Early Word: Cocoron

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Over the weekend, we popped into Cocoron, a new soba restaurant at 61 Delancey Street (212-925-5220). The space is diminutive, with an L-shaped counter that seats eight, and three tables that each sit two customers. But what the restaurant lacks in size, it makes up for in flavor.

We started our meal with miso coleslaw ($2.50), which was a small portion (er, large morsel) of red cabbage tossed with a miso vinaigrette and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

To accompany the coleslaw, we ordered the mini daikon salad ($3.50), a sizable mound of julienned daikon topped with nori, bonito, fried garlic, and sesame seeds that came with a rice vinegar and soy-based dressing. Like the coleslaw, it was cool, crunchy, and zippy, whetting the appetite for the soba to come.

The menu is divided into cold and hot soba and includes information on the health benefits of each dish (for example, “For that groggy hangover, freshen up with the natto soba”). Given the frigid temperatures outside, we ordered the hot stamina soba ($9.50) and the tororo wakame soba ($9).

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The stamina soba came showered with slivered scallions and thinly sliced pork. The pork was a little fatty, but the bonito-rich broth was mildly smoky and piping hot. Because the broth was so hot, the noodles ended up being slightly overdone by the time we finished the bowl, but the broth was so warming and delicious it didn’t matter.

A pool of grated yam floated atop the broth in the tororo wakame soba, which encompassed a healthy dose of bright green wakame seaweed — this was the “anti-aging soba,” after all.

Service was efficient and as pleasant as could be; when we left the restaurant we were even presented with a five yen coin for good luck. Cocoron means “heartwarming” in Japanese, which is very apropos; when we left the restaurant, we did so with our bodies warm and also our hearts.

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