As a scout who loves seeking out new dishes and will rarely order the same thing, even at familiar and frequent stops, seasonal offerings are my jam. Ramen Tatsu-Ya is one of the first and most popular ramen outposts in Austin, and while I'm not the biggest fan of ramen (c o n t r o v e r s i a l), I love noodles and noodle dishes, and have gravitated toward the dipping broth options during my visits to ramen restaurants. Ramen Tatsu-Ya offers a seasonal dish, a spicy pork chilled ramen, which I had been meaning to try but wasn't able to until the last few days it was offered. Seasonal items are the big risk/reward prospects of food scouting. Reports on these limited-time, often experimental dishes vary from flashing potential, to utter misfires (one particular cheeseburger calzone still haunts my dreams the way Kobe haunts Smush Parker). This dish immediately became one of my favorites, solidly in the "good memorable" category.
The chilled noodles were satisfyingly chewy, and blended well into all the flavors. The ground pork was spicy, with a pleasing crumbly texture and a flavor which easily absorbed the chili oil. Strips of crisp green cucumber, sliced orange tomatoes, green onion, and shredded green lettuce provided a refreshing and colorful snap to the dish. The ajitama served as a tasty, salty, familiar sidekick, and the lip of the bowl was lined with a smear of karashi mustard. As a fan of spicy mustards and horseradish/wasabi flavor and heat, I enjoyed the the pungent flavor and sinus-opening slow burn of the mustard.
I had this dish in the last days of the summer special and was unable to return before it disappeared from the menu. Though this dish been removed from the roster, I hope it returns next summer in the best shape of its life, having added 15 additional pounds of muscle, posted a bunch of Instagram workout videos, and without any mentions in TMZ.