By Malcolm Johnson*
I don’t know why, but the iPads along the wall didn’t surprise me.
No, we’re not talking some kind of restaurant “Spidey Sense”, but it seemed inevitable that one of these days our little Tablets were going to replace Menus, and…maybe Waitresses themselves.
It does give Tastu Ramen a slightly different feel. A little more modern, a little more L.A.
Tatsu Ramen is one of the newer Ramen Joints that have opened up in the ever-growing, ever expanding Sawtelle District in West L.A. With Tsujita L.A. literally across the street, you do have to do something to distinguish yourself. So why not walk in, and before you’ve done anything else, place your order and pay for your meal with one of the iPads stationed along the wall.
Anyone familiar with a Tablet will get how it works. Just go through the menu of options. They’ll all be there. Pick what kind of broth you like, what kind of extras you want, and what you’d like to drink. Take your receipt, show it to the hostess, and let her find you a seat. The very Multi-cultural (thus, very L.A. Kitchen staff gets to work making your food.)
After that food and drinks just start…arriving.
How they know where and who you are, I don’t know. But they know. It could be a quick check of the receipt with your order number on top and in bold. But I prefer to think it’s that restaurant “Spidey Sense”.
Just let me go with it, okay?
Funny thing, I’m visiting Tatsu Ramen on a day (in early March) when it’s ninety-five friggin’ degrees. Stepping inside the crowded restaurant, taking a seat at the counter near the stoves where they’re actually making the ramen, doesn’t make it much cooler.
But you know? I’m totally having fun anyway.
Yeah, the Waitstaff is nice. The other customers are friendly as well. Now, granted, everyone is really into their Ramen, but it’s a good vibe all around.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Bold Ramen.
You heard me. Bold Ramen.
It’s their version of Tonkotsu (Pork bone based) broth with 11 “bold” ingredients. (Their words, not mine). It’s not as rich or milky as I’ve come to expect from other Tonkotsu broths I’ve had in the past, but the spices inside make up a lot of difference. This broth has a lot of flavor, as well as a lot of kick to it. The good news is that the spiciness level is not a full on assault on your taste-buds (like say at Pa-Ord Noodle), but it will sneak up on you. The good news if you don’t like pain and pleasure in the same meal, is that your tongue will not be feeling those chilis for hours afterwards.
Like with Pa-Ord Noodle. Damn, that stuff was hot.
Along that, I went and got a Pork Bao Bun, which was not bad. It was sweet and creamy (thank you dollop of mayo) and a nice complement to the meal. I probably should have gotten just the one, but when I see Steamed Bread, I usually lose my head.
And just go in knowing that the place is really, really popular. Expect a crowd.
* Contributing blog writer Malcolm Johnson is the publisher of the food blog Is It Any Good?
Tatsu Ramen is located at (next to Kitchen Story):
2123 Sawtelle Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025
Hours of Operation:
Sun – Wed: 11am – 2am
Thu – Sat: 11am – 3am