You’ve heard your friends talking about it: RAMEN FEVER has come to Austin. It’s appropriate, considering our feverishly hot season is coming too. Will delicious hot Japanese soup sustain its hype during the summer months?
It is our clear CULINARY RESPONSIBILITY at the Austinot to examine EVERY ramen place in Austin (with our stomachs), and so I took the “great burden” upon myself to visit Ramen Tatsu-Ya at 8557 Research Blvd. in Austin.
Ramen Tatsu-Ya is a little difficult to find, which should speak volumes for the huge line on most evenings. Even INVISIBLE, its delicious fare brings the people in from far and wide! It’s in the plaza that has Mister Tramps and Target (as well as some Asian grocery stores) and is nestled in the back right corner. While there is a neon sign in the window, there is NO other visible signage to let you know where this place is.
Japanese ramen is a far cry from sad dorm-room Cup o’Noodles. It is usually dense noodles, deep in a bowl of thick and savory broth, and topped with a variety of things like meat, eggs, and veggies, all incredibly flavorful and rich!
Even during Ramen Tatsu-Ya’s lunchtime “lull,” we waited in a very long and orderly line to select our ramen. During peak times (usually dinner, even during the week), the line goes way out the door and down the street.
Once at the head of the line, you order and pay for your food and drink, as there is booze available, and then wait to be assigned a table as they become available.
There are a number of bases to choose from and a lot of extras to add-on. My friend Jill tried the add-on brussel sprouts and loved them.
I had the Tonkotsu Sho-Yu, which is the soy-based ramen. Because I’m a spice wussy, I didn’t pick some of the add-ons that Josh and Adam chose. Ramen Tatsu-Ya has the option of adding “bombs” – including TWO very spicy bombs – that can really alter the flavors of your ramen. Very accommodating for those of you who love a little…or a LOT…of kick.
In New York, I visited Japanese ramen houses frequently because there is nothing quite so satisfying on a frozen day as a bowl of thick, warm soup. So I know my noodles! The meat in my Tonkotsu at Ramen Tatsu-Ya was tender, sweet, and cooked to perfection.
The one downside might be the lack of variability. I have a number of vegetarian friends who lament the “Vegetarian ramen: COMING SOON!” seemingly painted in permanent marker on the food board. So if you’re not a Picky Ramen Super Specializer, you should be fine.
The broth was definitely flavorful, but not as thick and dense as I’m used to. The meat, the egg and the “fixins” of this ramen were definitely the highlights. The egg in particular, for those of you unused to soft-boiled eggs, was an absolute delight. Marinated in…something yummy (?). I just wish I’d added more OF them!
We’d also started with the Gyoza Pork dumplings. Absolutely, delectably delicious!
We’d wanted to take home our leftovers, but I think sometimes Ramen Tatsu-Ya doesn’t realize how popular they ARE. They had run out of take-home containers. OH NO! It means we’ll have to go back! <fake tears>
I also want to mention that Ramen Tatsu-Ya has the MOST beautiful, most ELABORATELY PAINTED bathroom I have EVER been in. It was all hand done and gorgeous, and like really nothing I have EVER seen before. I could be inspired to post an entire SLIDESHOW here, but instead, you should go to Ramen Tatsu-Ya すぐに (quickly!) and check it out!
Which Austin ramen spot do you recommend I try next?
Slider photo via Ramen-Tatsuya.com.
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