Eat at Tatsu at your own risk. I don’t know what they put in the food (probably MSG), but whatever it is causes some people (my daughter, my co-worker’s boyfriend) to constantly crave the ramen here. I don’t have this affliction, neither does my husband nor co-worker. Maybe it’s because we’re not ordering the same Old Skool Ramen that my daughter loves. I don’t know. Because of her addiction, we eat here at least every two weeks. Odds are if you come here, you will probably see us.
When Tatsu first opened, its claim to fame was that you ordered your ramen via the iPads, customizing it to your liking and swiping your credit card for payment. They have a myriad of ramen available, even one in vegan broth. You can choose your protein (all-natural chicken, organic tofu, kurobata pork) and toppings which vary depending on the ramen (green onions, wood ear mushrooms, garlic, soft-boiled egg, etc.).
Once you’ve ordered, you show your receipt to the host/hostess and hopefully get seated. If you come here when they are busy (which they usually are at lunch and dinner), you’ll have to wait until seating becomes available.
Your order won’t get sent to the kitchen until you get seated so there’s no risk of your ramen being ready before you’re seated.
My husband and I usually get the Bold Ramen. You can choose spice level, garlic and soft-boiled egg (or not). Sometimes the soft-boiled egg is cold so the yolk has congealed a bit and fails to yield its luscious bounty into the ramen.
There’s also free sides of corn. I love free food so I always take advantage of this bonus. Boxes of shredded seaweed and garlic cloves are also on the table (along with garlic presses in case you want to really have your breath reek).
In a desperate attempt to try something different, I ordered the Juicy Pork Bun and Veggie Fried Rice.
The pork bun was super tasty, overflowing with pork and greens onions both of which fell all over the table. The veggie fried rice, which had tofu and was topped with pickled ginger, was also yummy.
If you sit at the table, there’s a giant TV screen showing scenes of Japan. It’s a great way to keep kids entertained.
Come early for lunch or during an off-time or be prepared to wait (and have to circle around the blocks in search of parking). Admittedly the wait here is much less than up the street at Tsujita, and Tatsu accepts credit cards (unlike Tsujita which is cash only). Remember to leave a tip either via iPad or in the tip jar at the end of your meal. Your server will be thankful.
Location: 2123 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles 90025. A second location has opened on Melrose.
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Pesco-Vegetarian Friendly – Yes
Vegan/Vegetarian Friendly – Yes. They have the Hippie Ramen which has a vegan broth.
Gluten-Free Options – Yes, in addition to fried rice, Tatsu just introduced gluten-free ramen from Japan for an additional $6.