Chef and master noodle-maker Mutsuko Soma scores a spot on a prestigious national list.
Seattle chef Mutsuko Soma’s Kamonegi has just been named one of the 18 best new restaurants in the United States by esteemed Eater national critic Bill Addison. At the lovely little Wallingford spot, Soma makes buckwheat soba noodles by hand. As Addison aptly puts it, she blurs the line between art and craft to create “strands, at once taut and delicate, [that] are practically sentient in their freshness.” Don’t worry — her noodles don’t bite back! You can watch her process in the video above, from 2015, when she plied them at Miyabi 45th.
“It is my meditation time,” she says, a task requiring much gentleness that’s “all about muscle memory.” Soma also has a great sense of humor — I loved talking to her about MSG, and her website’s Soba FAQ explains the “head-scratcher” of a dish called bukkake (cold noodles in chilled broth, which sound very good right now).
Soma opened the critically acclaimed Kamonegi last October. Addison calls Soma one of the nation’s chefs who “stand out by gamely revealing themselves — by showing heart in their hospitality, remarkable ingenuity, and individuality on their menus.” She is, he says, a leading light and future influencer.
The restaurant is very small, but the good news is, they take reservations — though they’re bound to fill up quickly now. Pro tip: There’s also happy hour, in the bar only, Tuesdays through Saturdays from 4 to 6 p.m., and Friday and Saturday evenings from 9 to 11 p.m. On that menu, you might find Soma’s exquisite foie gras tofu or duck meatballs — the restaurant’s namesake and mascot is a duck carrying a leek on its back, meaning the kind of stroke of luck where one good thing brings another.