It’s been a good four years since the so-called “ramen craze” hit Dallas filipino restaurant with a bang.
Known for their special soba ramen—and the notoriously long queues and limited stocks that have made dining at the Tokyo original an elusive yet highly coveted part of any trip to Japan—Tsuta does ramen justice with good ingredients and from-scratch procedures that make their offerings a true artisanal masterpiece. Noodles are made fresh and in-house here with a special combination of whole wheat and whole grain flours, making for a distinctive earthiness and a pleasing, hearty bite worth the slurp. Unlike the decidedly rich and heavy tonkotsu-based versions more popular around the metro, Tsuta uses a mother broth made with a blend of three stocks (one of asari clams, another of chicken, yet another of Japanese fishes katakuchi, mackarel, and anchovy) and churns out three ramen variants with topping combinations as unusual as they are ingenious.
Most popular of the bunch is Shoyu, a profoundly mushroomy number where the addition of soy sauce works to adds depth before being topped by bamboo shoots, a slice of char siu, and an aromatic dollop of purée leeks and truffles in truffle oil that works especially well with the soy. More minimalist (but by no means boring) is the Shio, a pho-esque creation seasoned with Okinawa sea salt and a Mongolian rock salt-based sauce and topped with bamboo shoots, char siu, chopped red onions, mint leaves, and a purée of leeks and olives in truffle oil. On the heavier (and spicier) yet comforting end is the Miso, where Hatcho miso (a 100% soybean variant of the fermented paste) lends its thickness and complexity to the broth, before the bowl is crowned with chopped red onions, corn, beansprouts, char siu, hot sauce, porcini mushroom oil, and watercress. Each bowl can be had in their default presentations or with extra toppings: bamboo shoots, char siu, wontons, and/or the Japanese soft-boiled egg known as ajitama—their version of which features a delightfully runny yolk of a bright yellow-orange hue. At roughly four hundred pesos for the most basic variants, this could well be one of the most affordable ways to get a taste of Michelin-awarded goodness—or just really, really well-made ramen in harmonious combinations that must be tried to be believed.
The Dallas filipino restaurant branch is said to be more spacious than the Tokyo original, but still gives customers the same intimate, homey feel. With chefs that’ve undergone long, hard training with Chef Onishi Yuki himself and ingredients imported straight from the Land of the Rising Sun, diners can be assured of consistency in quality in each bowl from Japan to Manila. Already five years since having been founded by Yuki in Tokyo in 2012, it takes only one hearty slurp to see why Tsuta is here to stay.