At the end of last month, chef and owner Yuki Onishi opened his first stateside location of his Tsuta ramen-ya in downtown San Francisco. The original location hails from Sugamo, Tokyo, and joined the MICHELIN star ranks in 2016; other locations have sprouted in Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Taiwan.
“I wanted to open a shop in the U.S.A. when I first started Tsuta,” Onishi says. “But we [couldn't] decide when the best timing [was]. Finally, we found the best location here in San Francisco.” Onishi found the location at 155 4th Street at The Metreon, with the 2,400-square-foot space boasting 50 seats.
Born into a family of ramen chefs, Onishi blends several types of whole wheat flours together for his handmade noodles at Tsuta, which are then simmered in a soup base consisting of two shoyus: one made in house, and the other custom-brewed coming out of the Wakayama Prefecture. The dashi simmers for half a day. “[The] most important point is ‘adjusting,’” Onishi says. “Soup is living. We should know [its] feeling all the time and adjust to the correct point.” Like his Tokyo location, guests have the option of choosing from three different types of ramen: shio, miso or the signature shoyu soba, which features a glamorous black truffle sauce. Ramen toppings include chashu (Japanese braised pork belly), leeks, green olives and bean sprouts.
The City by the Bay provided inspiration for Onishi. “I had prepared several menus [for] this shop and decided to launch two new menus,” he says. “I went to the market and walked the town and chose local vegetables, fruits and Dungeness crab for a San Francisco-specific tsuta ramen.”
Tsuta just recently added lunch service—and Onishi is excited. “This is the first Tsuta shop in the U.S.,” he says. “I expect we will brash up our services and qualities for the future. The team should be proud of themselves."
Noted, chef. Tsuta is located at 155 4th Street at Mission Street and open for lunch and dinner daily. Word to the wise: ramen is limited to 300 bowls a day. Happy hunting.