Tsujita: Coaxing Extra Notes from Sawtelle Tsukemen Specialist

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Japanese Restaurant Los Angeles

Tsujita drew crowds to a Sawtelle corner from the start, for good reasons.

With my father and step mother in Los Angeles for the first time in over two years, the goal was to share some favorite flavors that wouldn’t be available to the same extent in their summer destination, San Francisco. For lunch, we gladly brought them to the stretch of Sawtelle Boulevard between Olympic and Santa Monica Boulevards that goes by Little Osaka, for another taste of Tsujita. Takehiro Tsujita’s Tokyo import debuted on July 30, and it took awhile to ramp up their specialty, tsukemen. The street hasn’t been the same since.

Ramen Los Angeles

For their dipping ramen, tsukemen ($9.95), they “slowly simmer the tonkotsu soup for 60 hours then add the seafood for sweetness and thick tastiness.” Add Ajitama, seasoned boiled egg, for $1.

During our last lunch, we topped our springy, nori-graced noodles with thick-cut Char-Siu for $4 more, and quickly learned there was already plenty of pork in the intense, umami-rich dipping broth, so we skipped the added oink this time around.

Ramen Los Angeles

Tsujita enlisted help from Mr. Tanaka of Tanaka-Shoten, “a famous ramen shop in Adachi, Tokyo,” for their Hakata Nagahama Tonkotsu Ramen ($8.95).

The murky, pork-rich broth contained so much protein that the surface formed a film when we let it rest. Accompaniments included a sea of scallions, mushrooms, a sheet of nori, and none of those fermented bamboo shoots, menma, that taste like rubbing alcohol and bother me so much.

We were able to specify hard noodles, though soft and medium were also options. Tsujita provides three different complimentary toppings, including sesame, beni-shoga (red-colored ginger) and karashi takana (hot leaf mustard), which added nice spicy pungency.

We couldn’t resist ordering don ($3.99 each), savory rice bowls topped with different proteins.

Japanese Food Los Angeles

Salmon Sashimi Don clearly wasn’t sushi grade, with grey-edged “dark meat,” but the relatively silky fish still tasted good with nori and a spicy, doughy “wasabi” thatch.

Japanese Food Los Angeles

Char Siu Don was unnecessary, since our bowls already contained pork, but this preparation had a different flavor profile, with scallions and soy.

Tsujita only serves tsukemen at lunch, and a few friends said they wouldn’t order anything else if given the option at dinner. Sure Tsujita’s tsukemen is good. We’ve now enjoyed it on two occasions, but based on the other plates we tried at lunch, and a dinner that included Braised Pork with Rice Sauce, Agedashi Tofu, and a now extinct Miso Marinated Foie Gras, we also know that the restaurant can play more than one note.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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