Last August, hundreds of people lined up just to get into Ramen Tatsu-Ya so they could sample a collaboration that now seems so obvious: barbecue brisket in a piping hot, savory bowl of ramen. The crush of people may have been due to the fact that the brisket came from Truth BBQ, which hadn't yet opened its Houston location, but also—come on—brisket in a bowl of ramen.
That exciting, extremely Houston dish was bound to return, and Tuesday it did. While the line was long at Montrose's Ramen Tatsu-Ya before it opened, it was nothing like last year. Customers were able to get inside and order within 20 minutes of the doors opening.
Brisket ramen is a wonderful food marriage: 70-hour tonkotsu (or pork bone-based) broth that's salty and a little creamy, cooked with shoyu (soy sauce) smoked by Truth BBQ's Leonard Botello IV for an added umami blitz. The brisket, well rendered and tender enough to cut with a porcelain soup spoon, adds another fatty and smoky layer.
I spent the first few minutes slurping up broth and picking pieces of meat, and then I remembered: "Oh yeah, noodles." Within five more minutes I had slurped down nearly the whole bowl.
The dish will return on Tuesday. After that it may not be back for a while, so plan for lunch at Ramen Tatsu-Ya next week. While we now have Truth BBQ's brisket at our beck and call most days of the week, you'll want to experience the soothing satisfaction of this delicious collaboration.