Visiting Tsuta | One Michelin Star Ramen

A few weeks ago, C was watching Youtube and saw a cool feature on Tsuta, the one and only ramen joint in Japan that has a Michelin Star rating. Now, from our last experience we didn’t really care so much if a place had a Michelin Star rating, because we felt that in Japan you couldn’t really go wrong anywhere you go! Plus ramen really has such a huge variety and people have such different tastes for it. Some people like thick broth, and some like it light. Some prefer fatty meat, and some prefer them more lean. I guess it also depends too on how you feel that day.

But anyway, we have found ourselves wandering through Tokyo the past couple of days, and so we decided that we wanted to try it out! After a couple of google searches, we discovered the following:

  • They don’t take reservations, and you can’t line up to get in
  • They now have a ticket system. You come in early in the morning to pick up a ticket for 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00 time, for a 1000 deposit that they will return to you once you come back.
  • On weekdays it’s okay to arrive somewhere in between 7-9AM and you can still get a good lunch ticket time slot.

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We got there around 8:40AM, and there was no line up for the tickets at all. We just peered in, and the awesome chefs let us in. It’s a tiny space, like many of the restaurants in Tokyo. Only 9 seats are available. There was one 11:00 AM slot left and there were a couple of 12:00 slots, which we took. They only seat 3 at a time, so it was perfect as C & I were coming with yet another friend. They told us to come back around 12:00-13:00.

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When we arrived around 12:15 (yes, we did the fun little trip to the Ikebukuro for the Pokemon Centre) and I just had to visit the Tokyu Hands there for some stationery shopping, there were at least 15 people in line.

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By that time, we also saw that they are out of today’s tickets as well, so to note that around this time they shouldn’t have any tickets anymore.

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So, the ticket system works like a fast pass in a way, you still have to line up when you come in with your ticket. We waited for about 1 hour before it was our turn to go inside the restaurant.

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Here I was, incredibly excited because we were next in line!

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Once we got in, we were faced with the ordering vending machine which we see everywhere in Tokyo for these types of places. We picked the top two there with the pictures, the one on the left is the Shoyu (soy sauce, darker, black truffle, more smokey flavor) and the right is the Shio (salt, lighter, white truffle, with a slight mint flavor). For some reason there wasn’t any ajitama (eggs) so we just went on with it. Each bowl was 1500 yen, and it was “the works”.

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The little space was really quiet and calm. No music at all, just the two chefs working about. They really looked like they were having a performance, and having so much fun doing what they love. Like there wasn’t a bead of sweat. They were moving about with such grace, I thought it was really nice to see them enjoy what they do without being in the mercy of their customers. I think the ticket system is smart, else if it was all about the line, then they would probably be stressed trying to work as fast as possible.

We weren’t allowed to take photos of the kitchen, so pardon us for the lack of photos. After we bought the tickets, we still waiting for a good 20 minutes for the people to leave so we could finally sit down and enjoy this meal.

And now for the most anticipated thing! C got the Shoyu version and it had the black truffle in it. I had a taste of it and I really thought it was nice and rich but still light. I know you see a layer of oil here, but it really didn’t feel heavy or fatty at all.

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Mine was the Shio version. The broth was considerably lighter and you can taste the truffle a little less here, but I felt it gave an opportunity to taste more of the various notes like the onions, and the mint … it was great! The dumplings were interesting because I had never eaten dumplings in my ramen before, but they were good dumplings. They had a huge wrapper that made for awesome slurping. The pork was not very fatty, but it was very flavorful and tender.

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It was definitely a very unique ramen, I had never tasted anything like it before. In Vancouver we mostly have heavy thick ramen that you get a food coma out of, and you lose the flavor as you eat it, but this one I felt like the flavor actually started to develop as I slurped out of that bowl. It’s a memorable bowl, I’m pretty sure it’s not the best ramen in the world, but it was pretty delectable. A check off the bucket list! 🙂

And after we ate, we lifted up our trays and gave the customary bow and left the small ramen shop.

Love,

K

written by

Karla lives a life of commas and dashes - photography, graphic design, travelling, and more. Karla's goal for 2012 is to find a creative space for all those - and thus the birth of Shortcut Travels. Shortcut Travels is a local travel and food photography blog, showcasing short trips, adventures, and eats in and around Vancouver.

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