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The simple Japanese-style decor is subtle, tasteful and inviting; rust hued walls with dark wood accents, and perfectly dimmed lights create an immediate sense of calmness, even though tables are within close proximity of one another, and the acoustics of the dining room can be daunting. The Asian waitstaff are courteous and friendly, eager to make suggestions, and super efficient. You will never feel rushed at Hotei, and although the staff may be scurrying around the maze of tables with steaming bowls of noodles and artful plates of sushi, it's a non-stop parade of visual entertainment.
This neighborhood favorite is a serious Japanese noodle house, specializing in soba (buckwheat), udon (rice — thirteen gooey styles), gyoza, and ramen (egg). Hotei owner and head chef Steve Fujii has been perfecting his craft at Ebisu for over 17 years, and it's the noodles that keep people coming back (and perhaps the reasonable prices).
- Excerpt from Hotei Whispers Luck by Charyn Pfeuffer