Ramen fans, get ready: Michelin-starred ramen from Tokyo just officially landed in San Francisco. Tsuta quietly opened at the Metreon last week, and will be hosting a grand opening on Sunday, October 20. Despite a casual location, there’s already a line out the door to get one of the 300 bowls of noodles that the restaurant currently dishes out each day.
Chef Yuki Onishi opened his original nine-seat shop in Tokyo in 2012, the first ramen restaurant in the world to snag a star in 2015. Tsuta now has locations across Asia, and SF is the first US outpost, with more to come in LA, Seattle, and Portland. It’s the latest in a wave of Japanese ramen chains hitting the Bay in the past few years, including Ippudo, Mensho, and Ramen Nagi — but Tsuta is the first with a star.
Chef Onishi’s signature broth is a lighter shoyu, or soy sauce-based, style, fragrant with clam shells and dashi, totally different from the thick and creamy tonkotsu broths that are so prevalent in the Bay Area. It’s a mix of chicken, clam, and seafood broth, for triple the umami. The whole-wheat noodles the restaurant uses are made fresh daily and boiled to order, so don’t ask for a takeout container; that’s not allowed (or recommended).
Eater SF was the first to share the menu. Diners choose from three types of broth: shoyu (soy sauce based) with black truffle oil, shio (salt based) with white truffle oil, or miso with porcini mushroom oil. Side dishes include tori karaage (fried chicken), rosu cha-su (roasted pork with butter sauce), and aburi niku (torched pork shoulder). For now, the main beverage option is mugicha (barley tea), but Japanese beer and sake are coming soon.
Located at 155 4th Street in the Metreon, Tsuta is sandwiched between other fast-casual options, but the modern space — trimmed in white, red, and black — seems like a restorative stop for anyone wiped out from shopping or running to catch a movie. A spacious 2,400 square feet with tall ceilings, the ramen shop has 50 seats, including six at the counter. The early word is that the line at prime time is running 10 to 15 parties deep, but moves at a reasonable clip.
Tsuta is open for dinner every day from 5 to 10 p.m., with last orders taken at 9:30 p.m. For now, the ramen is limited to only 300 bowls a day. But more bowls, more menu items, and lunch service are all in the works.