In the past decade, ramen restaurants in Los Angeles have become much more prominent. While there are many options to choose from, one ramen restaurant that receives constant hype is Tatsu.
Famed for their al dente noodles and flavorful broth, Tatsu attracts many Los Angeles celebrities and anyone looking for a popular place to eat. Many friends recommended Tatsu ramen to us and, having heard of how popular it was, we decided to try it out and see if it was worth the hype. Unfortunately, this restaurant barely met our expectations.
Sawtelle is also a busy street, so there were many people in the restaurant. The parking lot could not accommodate everyone who came for lunch that day, so most people have to park on the street. Despite this setback, we remained optimistic and decided that a short walk might be helpful to get some exercise before the mountain of noodles we were preparing to consume.
We first ordered outside the store on an iPad. The menu items included a variety of different flavors and options for everyone’s dietary needs. Claire is vegetarian and was pleased that the restaurant offers vegetable broth and tofu. The names of the menu items were very clever and cute, leaving us excited for the meal ahead. We gave them our phone number so they could later contact us when we could be seated. The ordering process was convenient, easy, and fast.
We then waited about 10 minutes before we entered the restaurant and were seated at the bar. We were greeted with enthusiastic workers and a rush of warm steam from the kitchen. The sounds energetic pop music and ambient chatter in the restaurant combined with the sizzle of meat and vegetables in the kitchen, where we saw workers cooking noodles and broth.
The food came quickly, and the moment we had been waiting for finally arrived. We first tried the noodles that had perfect texture: they were chewy but not raw. The intense flavor in not only the meat broth but also the vegetable ramen was a nice surprise at first, and we savored the garlicky deliciousness. Unfortunately, this was the moment when our Tatsu experience peaked.
As we had more and more broth, we realized how salty it was. We know that ramen is supposed to be made very salty, but as people who have probably had too much ramen already, the amount of salt in Tatsu’s broth was over the line. We noticed that the bowls the ramen was served in had little messages written on the sides, and wanted to uncover all of them. Despite our best efforts, we were unable to do so. For the first time since we can remember, we left the restaurant without having finished our bowls because of the extreme salt flavor. We tried drinking water with our meal to tone down the salt, but after having about 3 glasses, it was time to call it quits.
After our meal, we decided to explore the neighborhood to see what other stores we could find (Also because we can’t drive and our parents couldn’t pick us up. Can’t wait for our licenses!) We were pleased to find that the surrounding shops had many cute items and were fun to browse through. From tea to stuffed animals, Sawtelle has it all. The neighborhood definitely made us want to come back, but next time, we’ll leave Tatsu off the agenda.