I’ve been in Somerville for months now and I love ramen, but somehow had never made it to Tsurumen to try their chicken broth version. When I heard they’d be closing this Friday for a few weeks because the chef is going back to Japan to work on his ramen technique (this may actually just mean he’s visiting relatives!), I decided to check it out.
Got there at a little before six, and it was already open. There were four honest-to-god salarymen in there before me, laughing and taking selfies with the chef. (Maybe already I like this place). The space inside is bright and clean and open–if memory serves, this location used to house a slightly dingy but classic Italian bakery, and it’s sure a lot different today. Right away there are other things I warm to–the really limited 3 item menu, the serve yourself water and utensils, the set price with no tipping and the eat in only/no takeout policy. Because seriously, what sort of enemy of quality gets takeout ramen?
Ordered the paitan ramen, which has the purportedly thicker broth. It’s pretty good too, with a lot of deep chicken flavor and almost no greasiness at all. Salt level is balanced just to the low side. The noodles are from the Yume Wo Katare machine and they’re bouncy and cooked just right, and the range of toppings offer variety–some fresh scallion, crunchy bean sprouts, diced red onion and marinated bamboo shoot work in contrast to the slight fattiness of the thin sliced pork. Lastly, the egg: I often complain about poorly cooked eggs at a lot of local ramen joints, some going so far as to serve you one with the dreaded green ring around the yolk. Gang, i can assure you that this is not a problem here at all as the onsen egg is so barely set that I’ll warn you away from it if you’re skittish about runniness of any sort. Personally, I prefer them this way.
The Boston area has a pretty respectable ramen scene these days. Tsurumen is a nice player in this space, and I’d be happy to go back to try the other two things on the menu.