Those dramatic arched windows on Old Fulton (Scott Lynch)
Nov 19, 2022
Tsuta, the world’s first Michelin-starred ramen restaurant, comes to Dumbo
Warm up this winter with these terrific bowls of noodles at the Tokyo import on Old Fulton
It took a long time to get the doors open at Tsuta, the brand-new ramen restaurant on Old Fulton Street in Dumbo. Much longer, in fact, than owners Alan Lo and Makiko Takahashi expected.
“After almost two years of work I feel gratified that it’s finally open,” Lo tells Brooklyn Magazine. “It took us a lot of effort because this is in a historical district, and this is a new building, so there were a lot of obstacles to overcome.”
Delaying things further was the sudden death a few months ago of founder Yuki Onishi, who had launched this noodle mini-empire in 2012 with a stand in Tokyo, earning a Michelin star in 2016, the first ramen restaurant ever to do so, and expanding into Singapore, Bangkok, and, now, Brooklyn.
After devouring a preview feast right before the grand opening last Friday, we can say with confidence that, for true noodle heads, it was worth the wait.
The space is inviting, with a sleek interior design, bright, beckoning lights, and those dramatic arched windows across the long frontage on Old Fulton. There are only about 40 seats inside — tables and a bar before an open kitchen — and right now they’re all being given to walk-ins, so plan accordingly.
Most important, the ramen is exceptional. There are five varieties on Tsuta’s opening menu, two of which, the truffle shoyu and the truffle shio, are dishes from the original Tokyo restaurant. These also highlight Onishi’s famous dashi, made from three separate stocks — one from five different Japanese fish, another that starts with clam, and a third that uses chicken as its base — that are combined at the last minute when you order.
Our party preferred the shio, which is lighter and slightly tangy, to the more astringent shoyu. But both are delicious, with firm noodles, sweet, fatty Kurobata braised pork, and, for $4 more, a superb, orange-yolked ajitima, or seasoned soft boiled egg.
Even better was the creamy spicy mala tonkotsu, starring a thick, porky broth enhanced with numbing Sichuan peppercorn and chili flakes. Slurping this stuff down on a cold night is immensely satisfying. New to Brooklyn is Tsuta’s miso vegetarian soba, which combines a seven-vegetable stock with an earthy mushroom broth.
In addition to the ramen there are a handful of starters on Tsuta’s menu, including standbys like edamame, gyoza, and karaage. A pair of dishes flagged as “signature” sounded more exciting, however, so we went that route.
First came the aburi niku — which turned out to be a small stack of meat cubes — quickly followed by the furikake vegetable crisps, basically chips and dip.
Both of these made for decent enough snacks while we waited for our noodles, but we probably wouldn’t get either again. Beer, sake, hot tea, and several Japanese soft drinks round out your options here.
“This is a great location for us,” said Lo. “We have residents from Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights, plus some office workers, plus the fact that this neighborhood is also a tourist attraction means we can showcase our food to people from all over America, and the world.”
Tsuta is located at 22 Old Fulton Street, at the corner of Elizabeth Place, and is currently open daily for lunch from noon to 3:30 p.m., and for dinner from 4:30 to 8 p.m.
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