First Look: This Iconic Japanese Soba Restaurant Opens Its First U.S. Outpost in Flatiron

The restaurant’s storied history dates back to 1789.

Sarashina Horii
Soba set with tempura | Photo courtesy of Sarashina Horii
Soba set with tempura | Photo courtesy of Sarashina Horii

With three locations in Tokyo, the recent opening of Sarashina Horii in Flatiron marks the debut of the restaurant's first international post in its centuries-old history, introducing New Yorkers to its historic art of soba making within a fine dining setting.

Sarashina Horii’s tradition dates back to 1789. Known for its white soba made from the core of buckwheat seeds, the signature dish involves a complex process that requires polishing the husk of the seed to create a subtle, albeit sweeter, smooth noodle. Enjoyed either hot or cold, the white noodles are more refined (hence historically favored by Japan’s Imperial Court) and have a delicate aroma compared to the more common mori soba noodle, which is made with a mix of 80% buckwheat and 20% wheat flour and also available for ordering.

Interior of Sarashina Horii
Interior of Sarashina Horii | Photo by Michael Tulipan

Leading the kitchen is chef Tsuyoshi Hori, who was born into a soba family of his own in Japan, and whose expertise and professional training helps keep the tradition of soba alive.

“Soba’s history goes back 300 years,” says chef Hori. “I worked in my family’s soba restaurant until I was 20 and learned to make soba at a young age. My cooking philosophy is alway to improve and take a dish to the next level. My greatest inspiration is to constantly refine soba so it’s enjoyable for all.”

Chef Tsuyoshi Hori
Chef Tsuyoshi Hori | Photo by Michael Tulipan

Unlike the Tokyo locations that feature traditional tatami rooms (where guests remove their footwear prior to dining on tatami mats), the NYC locale has a modern interior design inspired by Japanese roots—so much so that the architecture of the dining room is analogous to the shape of a soba noodle. The other key difference at the NYC eatery is the polished bar counter premiering eclectic cocktails and allowing patrons and sake lovers to enjoy the ambience.

Currently, the bar is equipped with more than 30 sake options and a range of Japanese gin and whiskey-infused cocktails. The extensive food menu at Sarashina Horii features more than a dozen soba selections with offerings like duck and leek, hamaguri clam, kurobuta pork, and mushroom and lobster tempura—in addition to a wide selection of raw bar options, appetizers, salads, and desserts.

Cocktails | Photo by Michael Tulipan

In Japan, most people start with an appetizer, followed by an entree, and traditionally finish with soba noodles. Here in New York, everyone eats differently and we think that's fine. There is no set order for dining at Sarashina Horii. The best experience is to enjoy your meal in the order you want,” explains Kiyoshi Kawaguchi, executive officer at Create Restaurants Group, who has partnered with Sarashina Horii to bring the restaurant to the U.S.

Located at 45 E. 20th Street, Sarashina Hori will be open Wednesday to Thursday from 5 pm–10 pm, Friday from 5 pm–11 pm, and weekends from 12 pm–4 pm for lunch and 5 pm –11 pm for dinner (Sunday’s closing is at 10 pm). Reservations are available via Resy and by calling 917-409-0546.

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Pooja Shah is a freelance writer living in New York City. She writes about culture, food, social justice issues, wellness and lifestyle. Find more of her work at