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Slurpin’ Tsukemen at The Tsujita

What do Black Friday and ramen have in common? The Tsujita at the Americana at Brand is providing Black Friday celebrations for your stomach! In the month of November, they are running multiple promotions, including happy hour pricing (50% off bowls and apps, and $1 Asahi drafts) between 3PM-7PM, BOGO ramen bowls between 9-11PM, lunch specials, and kids eating free on the weekends.

The Tsujita’s atmosphere is much more glamorous and trendy than that of its Sawtelle sister location. The Sawtelle location welcomes you the same way that a small neighborhood ramen shop would in the heart of Osaka. The Tsujita plays heavily on the fact that it resides in The Americana. The upscale decor and quality of food reflects a high end Japanese restaurant, yet the prices are very reasonable.

As someone who, nine times out of ten, would order a Char Su Don over a bowl of ramen, I was intrigued by the menu items at The Tsujita. Could a ramen restaurant outside the Sawtelle neighborhood hold its own? While the Tsujita is owned and operated by the same team that runs their flagship restaurant on Sawtelle, I was optimistic in this dining experience. My husband and I lived within walking distance of the West LA Tsujita, and in the five years we spent there, we became well versed in the offerings of numerous ramen shops on Sawtelle. Because of the popularity and long wait times of Tsujita and the Tsujita Annex, we dined there only a handful of times. Each time, we were impressed by the quality, flavor and attention to detail. We were excited to learn of a location nearer to us, since we have moved to Northeast LA.

The Tsujita gives those on the east side the opportunity to dine on the same menu items as its sister location, without having to drive to West LA, fight for a parking spot, and wait hours for a table. (I would almost argue that it could be more convenient for West LA residents to drive to Glendale to avoid the hassles of the Sawtelle location!) All of the recipes and dishes are the same as the West LA store, with the exception of their “Glendale Special” Ramen. The “Glendale Special” ramen is made with a chicken-based soup, rather than the traditional pork base, to appeal to the demographic crowd of the neighborhood.

My husband and I tried the tsukemen, salmon don, dan dan killer noodles, and ginger chicken. We ordered some happy hour beers. For a $1 beer, the sizing came out to be half a pint.

The tsukemen at The Tsujita is by far the most well known. The gravy-like consistency of the soup, along with the perfect texture of thick “dipping noodles” creates a perfect comfort meal. The pork belly that topped the noodles was perfectly delicate, tender and succulent. Even the egg in the soup was surprisingly perfect. Anyone can hard boil an egg- The Tsujita chefs exhibit their intense attention to detail in their ramen eggs. The white was firm, yet the yolk was soft and slightly runny.

Dan dan noodles are traditionally part of Chinese cuisine, so the killer noodles are The Tsujita’s Japanese-style take on the dish. They may not be on the permanent menu for The Tsujita, as they are the signature item at Tsujita’s hot new Killer Noodle location in Sawtelle, so get them while you still can on the eastside! The noodles are traditionally served dry (without soup) and topped with minced beef. The Tsujita offers a version with soup, which is the one I ordered, and which I highly recommend. The chicken broth is fantastically flavorful, and can be modified to your desired spice level- I went with medium, which had a pleasant heat to it. The killer noodles also sub out chicken for beef, which imparted a cleaner, less greasy profile than I’m used to. And the pieces of tofu mixed in added a great variation in texture, especially when paired with the crunchy bits of cabbage.

The Tsujita provides condiments on the table, and the house made takana sauce did not disappoint! Made from mustard leaf seasoned in spices, this sauce took all the noodle dishes to a completely different level. Because of the brown color, I was not expecting intense heat, but was immediately proven wrong! The spice builds as you eat, and soon my dish had another layer of depth that intensified the richness in the flavors.

Of all their November “Black Friday” deals, ½ off rice bowls may be their best. For $3, diners can enjoy char-siu (pork belly), tuna, spicy tuna, or salmon atop a generous portion of perfectly cooked sushi rice. Diners can easily taste the high quality wasabi the chefs dollop on the fish.

Quality, attention to detail, and ease of dining highlight The Tsujita. Even though there are higher end, and larger chain restaurants in The Americana, The Tsujita easily beats out their competition in these categories.

THE TSUJITA ARTISAN NOODLE

769 Americana Way

Glendale, CA 91210

Tsujita Locations

All photos courtesy of Melissa Len Toohey.

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