The handmade soba at Miyabi 45th in Wallingford is soon to be no more, perhaps temporarily, perhaps forever.
Chef Mutsuko Soma, whose brilliantly crafted cuisine landed her restaurant on the Eater 38, is departing Miyabi 45th after February 13 for maternity leave. She'll continue offering the restaurant's regular menu until then, and she says she plans to return at some point—though the timeline for that is unclear, and it seems as though a permanent change may be on the table.
After Soma leaves, and as sous chef Joey MacGregor heads to Japan for an apprenticeship, the three-year-old restaurant will take a short break then reopen with a new menu and concept from Miyabi sushi chef Masa Ishikura.
Soma had this to say about her departure:
Our soba is unique as a product and as a craft that is practiced by so few hands. As my team and I embrace greater challenges ahead, I've made the difficult decision to step away from the restaurant for the time being. I am expecting a baby girl and will use this time off to focus on a more challenging job ahead, motherhood! Our sous chef Joey [MacGregor] has accepted an apprenticeship at a restaurant in Japan. Our other staff have also landed great opportunities and expect to devote some time off to spending time with their families. In the future, I plan to prepare and sell soba through my original pop up Kamonegi and may return to offer soba at Miyabi 45th again! I'm so appreciative of our regulars and I hope to see all the familiar faces once I return for pop ups, specials events, and demonstrations!I want to thank everyone who has dined with us, celebrated holidays with us, and came from other cities and states to try our soba. It means a lot for a chef to not only cook for diners but also to provide a new experience. I appreciate the support we've been able to get from our friends, neighbors, the farmers who've grown and supplied us buckwheat, and supportive members of the restaurant industry. This has been a very difficult decision to reach, but also one that comes with an opportunity for growth for myself and my team who have dedicated so much time and energy to learning about soba and mastering this difficult craft. It's not goodbye, it's we'll be back!
The restaurant's lunch pop-up, Onibaba Ramen, will serve its food on February 3 and 10, and then go on hiatus. Fans can track Onibaba's future pop-ups on its Facebook page. Announcements and developments for Kamonegi can also be tracked through Facebook.