Ramen Tatsu-ya chefs/owners Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya "Tako" Matsumoto are said to be pondering a second location of their Austin ramen shop, and Houston is among the options. Eater tipsters report that Aikawa has been scouting locations around the city and soaking up Houston's dining scene with trips to restaurants such as the Eatsie Boys Cafe and Underbelly.
For its part, the restaurant concedes that Houston is a possibility but emphasizes that they're also considering a second location in Austin or simply staying put and serving the crowds that line up at the restaurant everyday. Spokesperson Chiai Matsumoto concedes that one criteria for expansion will be "keeping convenience in mind for patrons who make long commutes to eat our ramen." Sorry, Austin, but Houston wins that one. Montrose is much farther away from Tatsu-ya's 38-seat location in an obscure north Austin strip center than South Congress is.
Ever since it opened in September, Tatsu-ya has taken Austin by storm. As with Franklin Barbecue, Austinites, who apparently love to show their devotion to a restaurant by lining up to eat there, form a daily queue ahead of the restaurant's 5:00 p.m. opening. Tatsu-ya won Eater Austin's 2012 So Hot Right Now award and earned a spot on the Eater National Ramen Heatmap.
As for why Tatsu-ya has been so successful, it likely has to do with the broth, which involves simmering pork bones for 12 to 60 hours. In his review, Austin American Statesman food critic Matthew Odam awarded Tatsu-ya a 7.5 on a 10 scale. He writes that the signature Tonkotsu ramen consists of "thick buttery stock (that) arrives like a circular artist's palette: a tawny swirl of fatty pork belly, a tangy marinated beige egg with a viscous golden center, ebony slivers of firm wood ear mushroom and bright green bits of scallions pooled separately atop the soup."
· Ramen Tatsu-ya [Official]
· Ramen Tatsu-Ya Helps Usher in Austin's Ramen Craze [Austin 360]
· Ramen in Common [Facebook]
· The 19 Hottest Ramen Shops Across America Right Now [-EN-]
· All Ramen Tatsu-ya Coverage on Eater Austin [-EATX-]