Soba Totto: Soba & Yakitori Bar in NYC – Hello, Anyone Speaks English Here? We Are Ready To Be Seated Now.

Soba Totto: Soba and Yakitori Bar in NYC

It was a rainy and cold evening in midtown Manhattan. A friend and I met up to try out Soba Totto, a Soba and Yakitori Bar that is famous for soba, Japanese buckwheat noodle. We had such high hopes since Soba Totto sounded so good online and in reviews. We put our selves on the wait list immediately after arrival and proceeded to the bar to wait for our table.

Many alcoholic drinks later (running up a nice-sized bar tab and about 45 mins later), we got called. We asked to have another 10-15 mins to finish up our conversation before we headed to the dining room. The hostess nodded in agreement. When we were ready to be seated, we were told that they thought we didn’t want to eat anymore and continued down the path of telling us how we were wrong in our expectation to be seated now.

Really? I quickly realized that they did not understand English when it’s spoken too quickly or when the verbiage is more complex. They made no efforts to accommodate us and was more interested in debating what we had communicated prior. Soba Totoo – All I wanted was to eat. I waited for an hour and I wanted to eat your noodles. Luckily, a couple of spots opened up in the bar and we decided to end the debate with the staff. #BadCustomerService

As this meal took place about a month ago, I am trying to reconstruct what was ordered from Soba Totto’s online menu. Their online menu is such a disappointment; it’s neither complete nor easy to navigate. So here is me winging my experience without the solid support from the restaurant’s website. What a shame, Soba Totto. Not only are your staff challenged by spoken English, your site lacks optimal user experience and the necessary content.

From the top running counter clock wise: Miso Cheese 赤味噌とクリームチーズのエンダイブのせ: Reddish-brown bean paste & cream cheese on endive (This is a hit or miss. My friend thought it was the bomb, tasted like dessert. I thought it was disgustingly weird for cream cheese to be eaten in a Japanese restaurant); stir fried oysters in soy sauce which was passable; fake crab cake that was too soft and sweet; chicken breast that was half-cooked but tasted fine; some sort of chicken with cream cheese in the middle (disgusting). At center is the Mochi Bacon もちベーコン: rice cake; this is another disgusting invention. #DisgustingJapaneseDishes

Can we please stick mochi with Asian ingredients and bacon to where it belongs – next to your breakfast eggs or on top of your burger but NOT on sweet sticky rice?  What were you thinking, Soba Totto?

Oroshi Tsukune おろし紫蘇つくね: Chicken meatball topped w/ grated daikon radish & shiso leaf. Tasteless. Don’t know why it was such a big deal.

Chawan Mushi (egg custard filled with shrimp, chicken, and gingko nuts). This was excellent! How the egg custard is supposed to be. The steamed egg was soft and tasty. Loved it. But I could not find this item on their online menu.

Shio Soba 塩蕎麦 in hot chicken & veg. broth topped w/ scallion & boiled egg side toppings of pickled plum, sea salt, sesame & sesame oil. Tasteless. Don’t know why the soba was such a big deal.

Sake – I don’t usually drink but the art of pouring sake (letting it over flow) was beautiful and why I took this picture.

I don’t know why my experience was so bad that night. Perhaps I should not have let my friend do the ordering. After all, he is not Asian and ordered like a barbarian. Perhaps I need to give Soba Totto another try where I order the tried-and-true Japanese dishes. In summary, the food experience was dismal with the exception of the egg custard; the service was bad and discourteous; and their website sucks.

Soba Totto:  I am a seasoned digital marker and would be happy to consult to optimize your customers’ online experience and improve your restaurant turnouts.  Wait – but that would be a problem for you. Wouldn’t it? Since your staff cannot manage a wait list properly.

This experience took place at

Soba Totto
Soba & Yakitori Bar
211E 43rd St
New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212.557.8200

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