Cocoron: Dipping into Perfection
New York is cold about 75% of the year. Fall is cold. Winter is colder. And, Spring is Elsa on adderall. In order to combat the frigid climate, it's recommended to fill up your bellies with something hot and hearty. For this, I suggest Cocoron, in the Lower East Side. Cocoron, meaning "heartwarming", is a Japanese Soba shop owned by Yoshihito Kida and Mika Ohie. They serve cold, warm, or dipping soba along with several different appetizers.
FUN FACT: Check out their website for some Japanese noodle manga.
TIP: Cash only; It's a small shop so go early or be ready to wait.
Address: 61 Delancey St. New York, NY 10002
Yokozuna Dip Soba: Cold Soba with Onion, Cabbage, Bean Sprout, Chasiu Pork, Wakame Seaweed, Corn, Minced Pork, Garlic, Butter, Sesame Miso dipping sauce at Cocoron
Daikon Mochi: Sticky Rice Cake with Daikon Radish, Burdock, Grated Daikon Relish, and Yuzu Pepper at Cocoron
Warm Stamina Soba at Cocoron
Steamed Chicken Meatballs covered with Sticky Rice at Cocoron
YamiQ: Fresh Cucumber with Spicy Sauce at Cocoron
To start your meal, I suggest ordering Cocoron's Steamed Chicken Meatballs covered in Sticky Rice (see above). It's their own version of dimsum. It even comes in a little steamer basket! These are sensational. They're like little explosive Death Stars of radiating happiness. The steam soaks the sticky rice with all the meaty juices that are produced by the meatballs within.
Anyways, this is a soba shop so let's talk about the soba. Cocoron's soba is heavenly. The buckwheat noodles are made in-house daily. I recommend the dipping soba because it's just more fun. Also, I am a die-hard Tsukemen fan, where the noodles are cooked al dente to accompany the boiling hot broth. This prevents the noodles from overcooking. Overcooking is bad. Therefore, every single bite has more or less the same texture and bite. No more mushy noodles! I love it.
I got the Yokozuna Dip Soba, which is made from Onion, Cabbage, Bean Sprouts, Chasiu Pork, Wakame Seaweed, Minced Pork, Corn, Garlic, and Butter in a Sesame Miso Dipping Sauce. All the flavors essentially melt into each other, creating a hearty stew of glorious, umami tastes. While dipping, take the time to appreciate the fragrance of the dipping sauce to enhance your eating experience.
The dipping sauce is not meant for drinking as it is. Until you finish your soba, it is meant only for dipping. Towards the end of your meal, Cocoron will provide a small pot of hot sobayu (soba water). This is the water that the soba noodles have been boiled in. This starchy water is rich in Vitamin B. Pouring it into the dipping sauce creates an exciting broth for your enjoyment.