Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle
One of the spots I’ve been most looking forward to check out in Los Angeles is Tsujita, a branch from a Tokyo restaurant which is well known for their tsukemen (aka dipping noodles).
Located in Little Osaka of West Los Angeles, Tsujita only offers tsukemen and ramen during lunch, making this place consistently busy with waits often an hour long on weekends, unless you get there before it opens.
I guess the stars were shining upon us when I finally got around to visiting because despite having a group of 5 and arriving right in the middle of the popular lunch hour, we only had to wait a mere 20 minutes. Honestly though, there are so many little shops and restaurants surrounding the area that an hour wait probably can go by quite quickly, unless you choose to just stand outside and wait.
I wanted to get a picture of the outside with the crowd but it’s on a busy street with no cross-walk and didn’t think it was worth getting run over.
There are three variations of tsukemen offered and for the sake of the blog, we got a variety. DH also was the sacrificial lamb and got the tonkotsu ramen for comparison sake. (Don’t worry, I shared half my tsukemen with him!)
For tsukemen you have a choice of just tsukemen, tsukemn + seasoned boiled egg, or tsukemen topped with char siu.
If you enjoy soft boiled eggs, I highly recommend you get the Ajitama tsukemen which comes with their seasoned soft boiled egg. The outside egg white is flavored with the tsukemen broth and the inside has a runny orange yolk.
The concentrated pork broth was extremely flavorful without being overly salty as is often the case with other places that offer tsukemen. It’s also packed with bamboo and strips of pork. It was raining on the day we visited and this hit the spot perfectly. This is now what I crave every time we have a cold or rainy day, so it looks like I’ll be craving this all winter long.
Here’s a closer look at the egg.
One of my dining companions had just returned from a six week business trip in Japan and thought the LA location offering was on par with what he had experienced when he tried the main Tokyo location.
My one wish is that they provided some sort of heating device to keep the broth warm as it always gets cold halfway through. At the end of your meal, you can request hot water to be added to the sauce to create a soup you can drink. However, we still had a few more spots to hit that day so we didn’t want to overstuff ourselves.
DH chose the regular Tonkotsu ramen. He was surprised by the small quantity considering it was priced at $8.95, commenting that it was as if he had ordered from the children’s menu.
The prices in general here were a few dollars higher compared to the prices in San Diego, but we were in West LA and apparently the prices are quite normal for this area.
While the ramen was noticeable smaller than any we’ve had in San Diego, it was still quite filling because the broth was so thick. I’ve been pretty happy with the broth at Ramen Yamadaya, but the broth at Tsujita is worlds thicker. It reminded me more of a chowder than a broth. It was a pretty good rendition of tonkotsu, but I still preferred the tsukemen more. Also the tsukemen portions were bigger.
CHAR SIU TSUKEMEN
Here is the other upgraded tsukemen variation with some char siu meat.
There’s quite a selection of sauces too:
I had a great lunch here and am so grateful to have such great friends who brought me here and accompanied me on another of my crazy food crawls. A lot of people asked me after it if was worth the long wait. Normally I’m not inclined to stand or sit around and wait for an hour for anything, but in this case, you can walk around and do other things while you wait, so the wait isn’t too bad. So for me, yes I’d go again even if the wait was long. If it wasn’t a 2 hour drive away, I’d be here every week.
DH wanted me to take a photo of the ceiling:
- To avoid a wait, get there a little before it opens.
- Ramen and tsukemen is only served during lunch (last call is 2 pm) and you don’t want to get there too late because sometimes they run out.
- There’s free barley tea just inside the door while you wait.
- You can request for hot water (no charge), to be added to your dipping sauce at the end so you can drink it as a broth.
I took a photo of the menu, but it’s on their website as well. They actually have quite a nice, informative website.
Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle
2057 Sawtelle Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90025