I admit that it wouldn’t take much to impress me with ramen, as my only experience has been with grocery store Top Ramen, before entering what shall now be referred to as hallowed grounds of Ramen Tatsu-Ya. I met my husband and a friend for lunch recently, on a rare weekday off. Reminder: start taking more days off. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this lunch, with its silky, rich broth and succulent pork belly. And the egg. Oh, my goodness, that egg! The texture is almost indescribable, with a velvety yolk and tender white part that melts in your mouth. Sinfully delicious.
We sampled the spicy edamame while waiting for our ramen, and I suggest you do the same. One order was enough for the three of us, and we got a laugh at my husband’s expense when he ate an entire pod. He is fairly new to Japanese food, despite spending a few weeks in Japan for work. He was much younger, and much more of a picky eater back then. After we explained that you pop the beans out with your teeth, it was all good. He’s finally able to eat with chopsticks now, and not get too frustrated.
The lunch ramen is a chicken-based broth, Toyko style shoyu ramen with chashu (pork belly), ajitama (marinated soft boiled egg), nori (seaweed), memna (marinated bamboo shoots), and white and green onions. We ordered extra garlic, to add to taste to our ramen. So unbelievably delicious! The broth is a rich, golden brown color, and is the perfect backdrop for the ingredients. I spooned several mouthfuls before tackling the noodles, slurping them up. I’ve learned I cannot slurp without splashing broth into my eyes, and have noted the need for waterproof mascara for future trips to the restaurant.
The lunch menu doesn’t offer as many types of ramen as dinner service, where you can get Tonkatsu (pork broth based ramen) with a variety of ingredients, as well as a miso soup that comes in spicy or mild. I love the clever name: Mi-So-Hot and Mi-So-Not. Ramen Tatsu-Ya offers a Gluten-Free option at dinner, and on Sundays, a veggie ramen. The additional side dishes on the dinner menu look tasty, too. I’m dying to try the Sweet & Sour Yodas (Brussels sprouts), and the gyoza. Mmmm, pork dumplings!
If you haven’t been to Ramen Tastsu-Ya before, make sure you know where it is located. It’s easy to miss this small space, located next to the post office in a strip center on the frontage road of Hwy. 183. If you glance around for a blue awning with a black sign underneath, and a line of folks waiting to get in, then you’ve found it. And yes, expect a line, or show up a few minutes prior to opening, like we did. It’s rough to wait in line, smelling the delicious cooking odors when your tummy’s rumbling. Want to learn more about ramen? Check out their video. Oh, and make sure you visit the restrooms while you’re there. They are an explosion of color!