Located on the corner of Arroyo Parkway and Del Mar Blvd, Tatsu Ramen, known for their long lines in West Hollywood and Melrose, has opened up their Pasadena location to quiet fanfare and good food. Their grand opening was held on September 5, with a soft opening the day prior.
The experience at Tatsu begins on their wall of iPad menus, where you’re greeted by a friendly user experience that showcases their plethora of different options for ramen, side bowls, and merchandise. While most ramen places do offer some sort of customization to their bowls (i.e extra noodles and meat), each bowl of ramen at Tatsu can be customized to your liking by way of spice level, amount of noodles, meat substitutions, and garlic and onion amount.
The decor of the place is incredibly minimalistic in a traditional Japanese sense. Bamboo tables and chairs, a raised counter that peered into the open kitchen, and no distinct art on the walls. Minimalism is a highlight in Japanese aesthetics where the influence of Zen Buddhism instills a desire for simplicity. For them, less is more.
This type of minimalism also boils down to the amount of items on the menu, seven distinct bowls of ramen, and four types of rice bowls, along with a unique ramen wagyu burger.
The bowl of ramen itself was of very authentic quality. The Bold Ramen with extra spice and scallions in it, came to a total of $16. Being that the average bowl of cheap ramen is around $10, this is something that should be taken into consideration..
Despite the price, the ramen itself was exceptionally good. The noodles were thin enough to slurp, the pork belly chashu was braised to perfection, and the spices gave it a really good kick that did not detract from the overall flavor of the thick broth.
The egg that came in the bowl was somewhat lackluster in their presentation, being more white than brown due to it not being marinated long enough. But the manager quickly informed us that new fully marinated eggs were being made and would be given to us even though we did not even mention anything about their quality. The new eggs were subsequently fully marinated to their proper brown color and were up to the quality of the rest of their items.
Overall, the experience at Tatsu Ramen was one of great quality and unique options that will be sure to satisfy the cravings of anyone looking for a good bowl of ramen in the area.