Everywhere you turn in the East Village, there’s a place to indulge in a young person staple: ramen. Joining the ranks is TabeTomo, a new ramen joint that soft-opened on Avenue A this week.
Tomotsugu Kubo’s new venture specializes in tsukemen, a pork-broth dipping ramen, brewed by for over 60 hours. Noodles are served at room temperature for firmness, in contrast to the very hot broth. Midway through the meal, a heated stone is thrown into the dish to slow cooling. Not to fear, though, they also serve traditional Jiro-style ramen brewed in the same way as the restaurant’s specialty. For both options, noodle toppings cost extra depending on the ingredient, but range from $1 to $5, or $6 for a three-topping sampler.
Kubo is the Japanese chef who helped add Tokyo-based restaurant Tsujita to the Los Angeles restaurant scene. Lines for the West Coast hotspot are excruciating, and the much-anticipated opening in New York could very well follow suit, especially considering the lack of tsukemen options in the city. For the first few days of the opening, the restaurant got busier than expected and sold out of many items.
The soft menu also features small dishes like karaage (Japanese fried chicken with tartar and ponzu) and otsukemono (an array of homemade Japanese pickles) alongside donburi, which are rice bowls topped with pork belly, tuna sashimi or crispy chicken.
The two-page beverage menu is extensive and all-inclusive, boasting nigori, sake, beers–though admittedly just Sapporo variations–and wines broken down by flavor. Sodas, coffees and several tea options are also available at totally reasonable prices. Most teas are $2, beers are on par with East Village pricing, and glasses of wine run as cheap as $8.
The only problem with the soft-opening menu, though, is that it doesn’t really cater to vegetarians. Ramen and tsukemen are out because of the pork broth. Most rice dishes are topped with meat, save the $3 bowl of plain white rice. Add the chamame (homemade boiled edamame) and otsukemono, and you’ve got the entire vegetarian selection.
TabeTomo is at 131 Avenue A, between St. Marks and East 9th St., and the restaurant is open this week for dinner from 5pm to 11pm. There are no reservations welcome–only walk ins are accepted.