2021 Update: Unfortunately, Tsuta has closed permanently.
Tsuta, the very first Michelin-Starred ramen restaurant ever, just opened their first US location in the heart of downtown San Francisco! The original ramen shop in Japan has been awarded one Michelin Star the last four years, and a Bib Gourmand the year before, and they bring the same delicious menu to the Bay. Chef Yuki Onishi, the head chef and creator of Tsuta, comes from a family of ramen chefs, so he was able to learn from and be an apprentice to his father at his shop growing up. But after leaving home post-high school to travel the world as a fashion merchandiser, Chef Onishi gained new knowledge and experience with food cultures across the globe and came back to the ramen life in Japan. Inspired to create his own new recipes, he opened a small ramen spot, and the rest is history.
Tsuta takes a different approach compared to many of the popular ramen joints out right now. They only use all natural and premium sourced ingredients, and their broth is surprisingly light. You won’t find the thick tonkotsu broth here. Even the shoyu broth has a very subtle, unique flavor (possibly due to the truffle oil in each of their ramen recipes), so even if you consider yourself to be a ramen aficionado, we can pretty much guarantee Tsuta will be a new experience for you. They offer shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), and miso ramen for $12, or if you’d like to add 3 more pieces of chashu and an ajitama (soft-boiled egg marinated in soy and mirin) you can do so for an additional $4.
One thing I actually wish they did was use thicker cuts of chashu. The meat still had amazing flavor – probably some of the most attention to seasoning and crafting a complimentary flavor palette – but there’s just something about biting into a thick, juicy, flavorful piece of pork in a bowl of piping hot ramen…
They also have some incredible rice bowls and appetizers at surprisingly reasonable prices! If you work in downtown San Francisco, you’ve become accustomed to spending upwards of $15 per day on lunch (unless you’re on a Panda Express diet), so we were blown away to see their bowls listed for just $5! Granted, they’re not enormous, but look at that photo below – they’re not small either. You could get TWO of those rice bowls stacked with charred pork and onion sauce or roasted pork and butter sauce for $10. Boom. So fear not if ramen isn’t your thing, you have options!
Tsuta also has some pretty bomb chicken karaage, which also goes for $5 like the rice bowls. One cool thing is that they fry the chicken with the skin, so it adds an interesting touch that you don’t typically find in karaage.
We’d definitely recommend giving Tsuta a try! You can probably expect super long lines given the massive hype behind this place, so plan accordingly. Let us know what you think on our Instagram when you go! Till next time, Nomsters!