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Tsukemen: TETSU’s Stone-Soup Noodles

Tsukemen is often overshadowed by its internationally-renowned relative, ramen, but it's the star of the menu at the immensely popular noodle shop TETSU.

By 3 min read

Hidden away on a lower-level sidewalk near Shinagawa Station, TETSU is part of a row of restaurants called “Shinatatsu.” The name “Shinatatsu” is an abbreviation in Japanese that means “Shinagawa masters,” and this refers to the fact that this street features the best in donburi (rice bowl) and ramen restaurants.

You can expect a waiting time at almost all of the restaurants at Shinatatsu during peak lunch and dinner hours. One of the most consistently-crowded and, incidentally, most highly-rated Shinatatsu restaurants is TETSU.

TETSU has several features that make it stand out from other noodle restaurants. According to the official TETSU website, the tsukemen noodles are made from bread flour and udon noodle flour, a mixture used exclusively by TETSU.

The soup, which comes in a separate bowl for dipping the noodles, is fish- and chicken-based and is the product of several days of boiling. The most unique aspect of TETSU, though, is it’s approach to solving a perplexing, but extremely common problem faced by all fans of tsukemen:

Tsukemen soup has a tendency to get cold before one is able to finishing eating the noodles.

TETSU offers a solution to this in the form of “yaki-ishi,” which are literally heated stones to be placed in the soup. If your tsukemen soup happens to get cold, feel free to ask one of the staff at TETSU for a “yaki-ishi” to warm it up, at no extra charge.

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Not that you wouldn’t be able to afford an extra charge; the prices at TETSU are very reasonable. A satisfying 200-gram bowl of simple tsukemen is 750 yen, with extra toppings, such as egg and bamboo, starting at 100 yen each. For those with a bigger appetite, the restaurant offers more noodles for a nominal charge.

The restaurant’s largest size, a monsterous 600-gram bowl of noodles, is an additional 250 yen, bringing a simple tsukemen dish to a total of 1000 yen. Considering the affordable prices and deep, rich flavor of the soup, no one will be surprised to know that TETSU is a favorite among salarymen at lunch hour and with younger couples after work. If you don’t mind eating later, you can skip the lines by going to TETSU in between meal times.

If Shinagawa isn’t in your area, you’ll be happy to know that TETSU has several shops around the Tokyo metropolitan region, including near Roppongi Hills and Toyosu LalaPort. Also, lest you should be hesitant to take friends who aren’t fans of tsukemen, you should know that TETSU also has “maze-soba,” a soup-less ramen dish featuring firm, thick noodles.

You can choose your meal, whether tsukemen or maze-soba or something entirely different, by using the meal-stub vending machine right outside the restaurant; the staff seem happy to help you choose and will guide you to your seat when a spot opens up.

Next time you are looking for a lunch besides the usual ramen, consider getting a seat, some tsukemen, and a yaki-ishi at TETSU.

Directions: Exiting the from the Keikyu Line ticket gates at Shinagawa Station, take a left. Follow the curve of the sidewalk until you reach the crosswalk headed to the Prince Hotel. Instead of crossing the street, take a left and walk along the sidewalk. After a few minutes of walking, on the left you will see a lower-level sidewalk. TETSU located on this lower-level sidewalk, right next to stairs leading down to the lower-level sidewalk.

Tsukemen TETSU

Address: Japan, Tokyo, Minato, Takanawa, 3 Chome 26?20
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., open all week
Telephone: 03-3443-2102
Average price: 850 yen (300-gram bowl of tsukemen noodles and soup)
Shinatatsu Tsukemen TETSU Official Site [in Japanese]

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