Friday, December 4, 2015

How to Get a Bowl of Michelin Starred Ramen at Tsuta

So you want to slurp at Tsuta, the world's first Michelin starred ramen shop. Well, let me break it down. . .



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On Monday, December 1st, Michelin announced their 2016 Tokyo list of restaurants. The biggest news was that a ramen shop received a star. Over the past few years, the guide has had a bib gourmand section that highlighted less extravagant gourmet food; kind of their own foray into b-kyu gourmet. I will write more (a lot more) about the Michelin guide in the coming weeks. For now, let's get back to Tsuta.

Tsuta is an exceptional shop, and worthy of any positive recognition. You can read a little over at my review of the shop here, or at about a million other news outlets on the net now.

As expected, the reaction was huge. On Thursday, December 4th, the line had to be stopped at noon, and those lucky enough to make it waited a good four hours to get ramen. The shop is in a residential area, so having hundreds of people milling about isn't going to work.

I spoke with the master, Onishi-san, today, and he explained the new system. They will now be giving out tickets from 8am. The above sign explains it all. You'll be given a colored ticket with a time slot. Come back around that time. You could only get one ticket per person, but this system changed. Now you can get as many as you like, with a 1000 yen deposit per ticket.

Expect the system to evolve. People were lining up at 7:00am today, and they were out of tickets by 10:30am this morning.

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Expect it to only get crazier. But for now, I really hope people will know that showing up in the afternoon means you won't have a chance, and Sugamo is a little out of the way, especially for a tourist on vacation. I went at 3:30pm today, just to say congratulations to chef Onishi-san, and within five minutes I saw a dozen people turned away.

My advice is this: go at seven or eight in the morning, see if you have a chance of getting a ticket, then get on with your day. The ticket system actually means that you'll be waiting less overall, which could be a good thing.

Good luck, and let me know if you make it in.

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This collaboration between Tsuta and Hototogisu . . .