Welcome to a new episode of Ramen Escapade Japan where your host, Le Captain Foodie, travels around Japan to review the best Ramen Restaurants available.
In Today’s episode, i am thrilled to say that i have been able to visit Tsuta Tokyo, the first Ramen restaurant awarded a Michelin star in the world!
Here is my review of their Charsiu Wonton Ajitama Shoyu soba Ramen, Aka the legendary Black Truffle Ramen itadakimasu!
TSUTA Tokyo – The first Michelin Starred Ramen in the world :
If you have read my previous post about Nakiryu the second Michelin starred Ramen in Tokyo, you know what it means for a Ramen restaurant in Tokyo to be awarded a Michelin Star. It is like winning the Hunger Games of Panem, an almost impossible mission within an ultra-competitive and aggressive market.
Tsuta – Japanese Soba Noodles (for the full name), has been the first Ramen restaurant to be awarded one Michelin star back in 2015. This was a huge statement in the world of Ramen and Japanese gastronomy in general.
In Japan, Ramen is usually considered as a Fast Food meal. Don’t get me wrong though, i am not referring to the McType of disgusting fast food meal, but the homemade crafted to perfection secret recipe on the go type of fast food meal.
With three main elements, Broth, Noodles and toppings, Ramen has always been viewed as a quick treat that you would loudly slurp in an instant before leaving the restaurant. Nowadays, Ramen is moving from the Fast Food stereotype to a more premium gourmet dining experience. TSUTA is one of the spearheads of this revolution by bringing a sexy first Michelin star in the ultra-masculine world of Loud Chefs, Aburi and slurping salaryman.
Chef Onishi Yuki opened Tsuta, Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta in Sugamo in 2012. Three years later he is awarded the Saint Grail of gastronomy and the rest is now history…
TSUTA has a wide offering of Ramen, Tsukemen and also the usual Side Dishes. Their most famous Ramen is a shoyu (soy) based soup with a black truffle flavor. TSUTA serves 5 variations of this Ramen and i highly encourage you to go for the Charsiu Wonton Ajitama Shoyu Soba (priced at ¥1700). This version is served with all the toppings you can wish for: extra pork, Wanton, seasoned egg, bamboo, onion and seaweed.
I won’t discuss here the Tsukemen or the White Truffle base Ramen, they will be the topic of another post and review.
The Best Ramen i ever had: Tsuta’s Legendary Black Truffle Ramen
Disclaimer: Before starting this review i would like to tell you that this Ramen is the best Ramen i ever had. I don’t necessarily believe in a “Best food” type of thing, but this Ramen experience left me with the most WTF just happened in my mouth type of feeling. So bear with me if i am a bit too excited in my description of the dish. It is a very subjective review (obviously).
First of all, there is something you need to know when visiting Tsuta (and famous Japanese restaurant in general); you need to be Patient. Queuing is an Olympic sport in Japan. They like to wait in line for almost everything, and it seems completely normal for them. (I have rarely seen people queuing two hours in front of a restaurant in Europe). If i had to queue an hour and a half to try Nakiryu, i have to say that the reservation system at Tsuta is great.
Now back to the review. I decided to order the full set Charsiu Wonton Ajitama Shoyu soba Ramen, Aka Tsuta’s legendary Black Truffle Ramen.
Broth: EX-CE-PTIO-NAL! I have never experienced a broth like this before. The first spoon will hit you hard with a burst of new and unusual flavours. I remember watching my Brother thinking What The F#ck just happened.
Tsuta’s black truffle broth is the kind of flavor that makes you believe in gods (#Ambrosia). I mean, if heaven exists, Gods must surely eat Tsuta’s Ramen on Olympus.
The broth is light yet intense, super tasty and addictive, it is almost a sensual experience. Baudelaire in his Poems could have written about the orgasmic encounter of your palate and Tsuta’s broth (unfortunately i am not that good of a writer).
We are far away from the traditional creamy Tonkotsu and if you fancy a rich and heavy broth, Tsuta might dissapoint you (I can only recommend you to visit Mutekiya at Ikebukuro or the Ramen Jiro chain). With Tsuta we are in the tantalising kingdom of subtle taste; A kingdom born out of chicken, asari, black truffle and shoyu amongst many other things.
Noodles: As you would expect, Tsuta’s noodles are made in-house. They are made out of a combination of several kinds of wheat flour and whole wheat flour. In terms of taste, the noodles accompany the Ramen perfectly, their Koshiness is flawless. Slurp them quickly and ask for more!
Pork: The slices of Chashu served at Tsuta are superb. It is not the typical super fat pork belly you tend to get with a Tonkotsu Ramen. Here the slices of pork are lean, the ratio of meat vs fat is really high. These slices make me think of a Roti de Porc more than a traditional Chashu pork belly (in fact they are roasted pork). Thankfully, they are delicious, tender and tasty, they marry the spirit of this Ramen and keep it perfectly balanced.
Toppings: If you want to jostle the traditional rules of a Ramen by marrying it with Black truffle, why not go the extra mile and add a Wonton? I guess it is what you would call a wink to the history of Ramen and his Chinese influence. The wonton was pretty decent. The marinated Egg was perfectly cooked, the menma and nori were also pretty good. Also, special mention to the black truffle powder served on top of the Ramen.
Size: The Charsiu Wonton Ajitama Shoyu soba Ramen is a perfect-sized bowl. I left Tsuta satisfied but not super full. In fact, It is exactly where you want to be after a meal like that, happy but not disgusted. I had some extra space left for a side dish or a dessert. However, after this Ramen, you’ll never want to wash away the amazing taste of shoyu black truffle from your mouth.
Service: Top notch service provided in all humility, quick, helpful and really friendly. You couldn’t ask for more.
Price: ¥1700 for the Charsiu Wonton Ajitama Shoyu soba Ramen. That’s the cost of an average Ramen back my city. Needless to say that it is an incredible price for value (even tho some might argue that it is a bit expensive for Tokyo). Keep in mind that the Charsiu Wonton Ajitama shoyu Soba Ramen is the premium version of this Shoyu black truffle based Ramen. Lighter versions of this Ramen start at a lower price point, but i would recommend you to go for the full set.
Overall: The hardest thing when you challenge tradition is to do it well. We have seen too many super hyped, fusion, new school, revisited traditional dish failed. At Tsuta, however, it is a real success. Their black truffle Ramen will catapult you into Ramen’s Heaven. Who thought it would only cost ¥1700 to get there.
“Simply the best Ramen i had in my life.”
Price for value: 5/5
Tsuta Japanese Soba noodles
1 Chome-14-1 Sugamo, Toshima,
Tokyo 170-0002, Japan
Opening Hours :
- Monday – Sunday* : 11:00 – 16:00; 18:00 – 21:00