Actually, it’s not such a secret, as ramen regulars will testify. If you’re looking for some of the best shoyu (soy sauce-based) ramen in Seattle, you must get to Tsukushinbo early for Friday lunch.
Friday’s the only day of the week they prepare the broth necessary for ramen, and they only make enough for a limited number of bowls. (I’m told there’s a plus or minus, but the average is 20 bowls.) Show up halfway through lunch service, and you’re rolling the dice on ramen denial. Once they’re out of stock broth, you’re out of luck.
Tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen is all the rage in the States these days; in Seattle, Samurai Noodle does a decent job with their “liquid bacon” broth. But it’s more challenging to find a place that serves the simpler shoyu style, which is why Tsukushinbo is popular. Plus, while most of the noodles in the local ramen preparations seem to be Chinese-made, Tsukushinbo’s are more reminiscent of what’s served in Japan – a little more “squiggly” and the right texture. And, for about ten dollars per person (including tax and tip), you get gyoza and rice on the side.
But remember: Fridays only. Doors open at 11:45. If I’m there, it’s already down to 19 bowls…
Cross-posted on Examiner.