Photos: There's A Hip New Ramen Shop On Melrose Ave.
There's a new ramen shop near the corner of Melrose and La Brea avenues, where you can place your order on an iPad, and even get vegan ramen broth if you so choose. It's chef Ryu Isobe's second Tatsu Ramen in the city—his first on Sawtelle Boulevard in the Westside.
The design of this Tatsu Ramen fits in well with his futuristic, high-tech theme. Geometric shapes protrude from the ceiling at this chic spot that soft-opened last week. Indie and electronic music is blasting in the background. At the entrance of the wood-paneled walls are a row of iPads, where you can easily order your food and customize your orders (like adding different types of meat or veggies), and which you pay for with a credit card. (It's in the same vein as the ramen shops in Japan where you place your orders on a machine, but with a modern twist.) There's also a glass-encased room at the entrance, where Isobe's in-house noodle-making operation can be watched from the outside.
Tatsu Ramen echoes the ramen-yas in Japan: communal, wooden tables sit on the inside of the restaurant (there are outdoor dining tables as well), diners can sit on the red stools at the bar which allows them to watch the ramen being made by the cooks, and tables also face the window so you can get the best view, even when you're riding solo. Jars of peeled garlic and garlic pressers sit on the tables in case you'd like to add some extra oomph to your hot bowls of ramen.
Isobe, a 26-year-old who hails from Tokyo and is the son of actor Hiroshi Isobe, told LAist that when he opened his first shop on Sawtelle Boulevard, he was just fresh out of college. With his sophomore effort, he was able to hire a designer to give this new shop (that he's been working on for the past year) a cool design with geometric shapes that are reminiscent of origami.
"I wanted L.A. to have something they've never seen," he said, "something crazy."
The items that his new shop offers that the Sawtelle one doesn't are his new creations: the Cheeky Ramen (a chicken-centered dish with chicken noodle broth) and the Hippie Ramen. LAist visited the shop earlier this week for dinner and tested out the Hippie Ramen, which had a flavorful vegan broth that was sweet and soy sauce-based with a strong, ginger flavor. You can add tofu and spinach (and even shredded cheese, which Isobe suggested and we loved). It was customizable for even the non-vegan folks who might want to add chicken or pork to it.
Tatsu Ramen also has on its menu the same offerings from the other location, like the Soul Ramen, which has a sweet Tonkotsu broth with black garlic oil, or the Chashu Rice which is topped with shredded pork and is sweeter than the likes of the more savory pork fried rice you'd get at another place like Daikokuya.
The bowls of ramen ran a little on the pricier side, from $9 to $12, but Isobe also prides himself on using fresh ingredients, and we imagine it also pays for the ambiance.
Tatsu Ramen is located at 7111 Melrose Ave in Los Angeles, (323) 747-1388. The temporary hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., so check on their website here to see if anything changes. There's one-hour free parking in the back of the restaurant.