Soba-ya [229 E. 9th St. (bet. 2nd and 3rd Aves.) 212-533-6966]
A worthy rival to Soba Nippon, and perhaps better than SobaKoh, Soba-ya is well worth a visit for lovers of the buckwheat noodles. The flavor and texture of the noodles here are fantastic, as the full influence of the buckwheat can be felt in every bite. The soba is not cheap for lunch, but it does come with some excellent side dishes (such as salmon or tuna sashimi) that fill out the meal nicely. In addition, the green tea is extremely high quality. Make sure to ask for it. There are other dishes on the menu that are supposed to be good as well, so there is also something for non-soba lovers. Try to come on the early side for dinner because the restaurant is small and fills up quickly.