Starting today, NYC will finally have a ramen shop where tsukemen is the star. Chef Tomotsugu Kubo’s new restaurant TabeTomo, opening today, will go all in on the dipping ramen in a petite space at 131 Avenue A near St. Marks Place in East Village.
Kubo has credentials that make this opening promising. The chef previously worked at the Tokyo location of Tsujita and helped open the LA location of the ramen sensation, where the restaurant has one of the longest waits in the city. Like TabeTomo, Tsujita specializes in tsukemen, a style where room temperature noodles are dipped into an ultra-hot, ultra-rich broth.
But Kubo’s NYC restaurant will be more upscale than Tsujita, he says. It has 24 seats and a 16-seat wood bar. Warm, low light provided by hanging lanterns, a brick accent wall, and wood throughout give the restaurant a romantic vibe.
Here, there’s tsukemen ramen with just one kind of broth. “We really want to focus on one broth,” Kubo says, describing it as a pork broth that’s simmered for over 60 hours. It’s served extra hot alongside a bowl of noodles that brims with chewy, thick noodles that are subsequently dipped in the steaming broth, seasoning and wetting the noodles. Toppings like a boiled egg, nori, and sliced pork can be added.
TabeTomo will also have donburi rice bowls and a few appetizers on hand, like karaage and a Japanese-style omelet. The restaurant opens with a limited menu tonight, but when it launches its full menu next week, there will also be an off-menu vegetarian option for the tsukemen ramen that can be requested as well as the “megamori,” an extra large bowl of noodles and toppings for the especially hungry ramen slurper.
While tsukemen isn’t new to New York, it is one of the less commonly found styles of ramen here. Restaurants like Momosan, EAK Ramen, Ippudo, Ramen Lab, and Ramen Shack either have it on their menus or have dabbled in the style at pop-ups. Chinatown’s Bassanova has one of the more extensive tsukemen offerings on its menu. But it’s never quite caught on the way that other styles like tonkotsu have in New York. And if Kubo carries over any of the success of Tsujita, where people line up for up to an hour for their bowls of broth and noodles, the tsukemen scene in NYC is about to heat up.
TabeTomo opens in East Village with its limited menu, posted below, tonight and will open with a full menu on December 10.