There’s been a line snaking down Fair Oaks Avenue ever since Ramen Tatsunoya opened late last year in Old Pasadena. Good ramen, the stuff that warms bellies and soothes souls, has been largely absent in the neighborhood, and everyone is clearly glad that this is no longer the case.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “Ramen Tatsunoya is the first American restaurant from a well-established Japanese chain of ramen shops, which founder Ryuta Kajiwara opened in his hometown of Kurume, in Japan’s Fukuoka Prefecture, in 1999.”
The Astronomer and I tucked in for dinner on a recent #datenight. Even on a Thursday evening on the early side of dinnertime, a line was winding out the door. Without too long a wait, we snagged two seats at the bar overlooking the open kitchen.
To start, an order of the Crispy Spicy Chashu Wrap ($4.10). This oddly interesting appetizer consisted of iceberg lettuce, pulled pork, crisped rice cereal, and shredded cheese layered atop a sheet of seaweed. The combination left something to be desired for me, but The Astronomer was game to eat all three.
The best part of the meal was the two bowls of ramen we shared. First up was the signature Koku Tonkotsu ($11.80). The broth, laced with pork back fat, spicy miso, garlic, and burned onion oil, was so rich and so slurp-able. The slices of chashu could not have been more tender.
The noodles, straight and toothsome, didn’t loose their bite one bit in the hot broth.
Also great was the Spicy Tonkotsu ($12.30). In addition to the usual wood ear mushrooms, pork, and beansprouts, our bowl was topped with crushed hazelnuts. Nuts!
For dessert, a serving of Tatsunoya’s house-made coconut flan with matcha cream ($4.80). Simple, cooling, and good.
Welcome to the neighborhood, Tatsunoya. We’re very happy you’re here.
16 North Fair Oaks Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91103
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