The 2016 Michelin guide for Tokyo, now available, includes 13 restaurants that scored the top rank of three stars. But a one-star restaurant is getting all the attention. Tsuta, a humble ramen shop tucked in a North Tokyo alley, just became the first ramen restaurant to ever receive a Michelin star. At only $8 a bowl, Tsuta may also be home to one of the most affordable menus in the Michelin guide. With long lines usually wrapping around the corner, there's no wonder Tsuta was honored along with 152 other one-star-earning restaurants in Tokyo. And Michelin's love for ramen doesn't stop there. Twenty-seven noodle shops also made the Michelin's Bib Gourmand list, a rank just below the coveted star rating that focuses on more affordable fare.
Though America remains in the throes of a full-on ramen obsession, Tsuta's Michelin star gives ramen the global recognition it is due. The Japanese soup is a meticulous art form. Artisans spend years perfecting broths, noodle texture and finding the right balance of toppings to give it a signature touch. According to the guide, Tsuta's focus is on soy-based Shoyu-Soba and salt-based Shio Soba. They also use semi-unorthodox ingredients like red wine, rosemary and porcini mushrooms to enhance flavor and fragrance. If you're in Tokyo, run to the restaurant now. No doubt with a mention in the latest edition, Tsuta can expect its nine seats to be filled for years to come.