Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

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Once upon a time I learned it was a Japanese tradition to eat soba noodles on New Year’s Eve. It’s considered good luck and symbolizes the year passing. I always make sure to get my soba fix in between my cocktails on the last night of the year.

I also felt like keeping the custom alive a few days into the New Year and so we hit up Soba Totto, a cozy Japanese bar specializing in both cold and hot preparations of the buckwheat noodles.

This is a sister restaurant to Yakitori Totto, therefore skewers of grilled meat is naturally in their DNA. So after our bowls of sea urchin soba and an appetizer of housemade tofu, we decided to get a sample of one of their more rare yakitori.

Sot L'y Laisse Yakitori at SOBA TOTTO

In French, it’s called Sot L’y Laisse (which means “the fool leaves it there” since chefs often miss this bit of meat), but we know it as the chicken oyster. Or at least some of us do. What is a chicken oyster, you might be thinking?

It’s the little nugget of meat that hides behind the thigh. Many regard it as the most flavorful part of the chicken. At Soba Totto, they grill the soft meaty chunks to a smoky char which dissolves into a tender and plump piece of meat. The oysters are even darker and more delicate than the usual dark meat.

You might not shoot it like an oyster from the sea, but the salty skewers are savored just as intensely. While my soba tradition is pretty firmly set as a welcoming of the New Year (and a bidding adieu of the old), I may also need to add these into my annual meal.

SOBA TOTTO
211 East 43rd Street (between Third and Second Avenue)
Midtown East
(212) 557-8200
sobatotto.com
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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