Soba at Tensuke Express

Shelley Mann, Columbus Alive

For a while now, I've been a fan of the super-cheap and super-tasty sushi rolls sold in the back of Tensuke Market, a great little Asian grocery in the same shopping center as Akai Hana. But I'd never tried out the actual restaurant attached to the store, Tensuke Express, which specializes in noodle soups.

Turns out, it's just as great. Giant bowls of steaming soupm are anchored by earthy broth flavored with shitaki mushrooms and kelp. You can pick your noodle variety--I went for the thin soba variety, but can't wait to got back and try thick udon noodles.

From there, you can add on a protein, like huge tempura-battered shrimp, barbecued eel, teriyaki chicken or fried pork cutlets. Or, order a combination meal with one of those proteins served in a mini bowl of rice. I chose the combo route with the shrimp and loved it.

We also tried out Tensuke's take on takoyaki, the Japanese octopus balls. I first got hooked on Freshstreet's version of these griddled street treats, and these are the first others I've tried that stand up to those. A great little appetizer.

As the name indicates, Tensuke Express is a casual, counter-order spot, but attention is paid to all the little details. I loved this fancy presentation of soup spoons and chopsticks.

Tensuke Express

1167 Old Henderson Rd., Upper Arlington