1722 California St
Houston, TX 77006
This afternoon Amelia and I ventured for lunch to the much anticipated Ramen Tatsu-ya, the Austin based Ramen house that celebrated its grand opening for the newest Houston location yesterday.
Tatsu-ya delivered on all of the fun and excitement surrounding their arrival as we pulled up outside of the restaurant and were greeted by the giant statue of the ubiquitous “Lucky Cat” with his paw raised. Housed in a new building on a quaint little corner right off of Westheimer in Montrose, the structure, lighting and signage are all urban, edgy and relaxed fitting right in with the area.
The line was already forming on the porch when we got to Tatsu-ya at 10:45am (perks of having a toddler is you eat early). We were handed plastic menus to review while we waited and I was happy to find a clear, organized lists of offerings focused on Ramen and add -ons with a few additional non-ramen dishes and small plates.
Once the doors were open we queued inside and prepared to order and pay at the counter prior to being seated. In addition to the plastic menus there is also a giant printed menu on the wall behind the counter available for you to contemplate your order.
We ordered the following:
- Tonkotsu Original Ramen
- Ol’ School Ramen (Kid’s Size : Off Menu)
- Corn Bomb – Add-On
- Ajitama – Marinated Soft Boiled Egg (2) – Add-On
Seating options varied from booths to tables and communal tables all set in a layout that was open and airy. Music and conversations mingled giving a fun vibrant ambiance.
The food came out lightning fast and everything we needed to get started, including napkins, chopsticks and spoons, were already at the table. The ramen was traditionally presented, was extremely well seasoned and the meat and noodles were cooked perfectly. The 2 add-ons we ordered were a mixed bag. Tatsu-ya offers 3 different “Bombs” that allow you to alter the flavor of your broth. We choose the “Corn Bomb” which consisted of corn and butter which was a bit underwhelming. The Ajitama Soft Boiled Eggs on the other hand were perfectly cooked and are an addition I would recommend.
Service was amazing, even given it was day 2 following the grand opening. Each person we encountered was engaging, helpful and cheerful. Water glasses were always full and we felt extremely welcome.
Things I really appreciated as someone dining with a toddler were the bins of “chopstick helpers” placed throughout the restaurant. At other eateries we almost always have to ask for them and it’s nice to have support for those of us are still learning to use chopsticks. Again, each staff member engaged Amelia (3 years old) and chatted with her, something that you don’t always find especially with younger hip crowd.
The environs were a major plus. There has obviously been a lot of work put into the design and layout of the restaurant and it works. The extra tall ceiling, the clean lines of the furnishings and the use of wood set the tone. Then the red and black Asian graffiti art, hanging rope art installations that dangle from the ceilings and pulsing music really inform your experience. Our lunch guest commented, “This place really feels like it transports you to somewhere else” and I have to agree, for the afternoon Ramen Tatsu-ya did just that.
Go. Try. Adventure!