Taking the plunge
When CultureMap last checked in on Ramen Tatsu-Ya’s latest concept, DipDipDip Tatsu-Ya, the team would only share a few details. Now, the restaurant is giving the full scoop, including the opening date.
In a release, DipDipDip announced that June 27 will be the first day of service at 7301 Burnet Rd., Ste. 101. As previously reported, chef and owner Tastu Aikawa will put a new spin on one of his childhood favorites, shabu-shabu.
“Here, in Austin, we’re so lucky to have a food culture where diners are open to new cuisines and experiences,” explains Aikawa via release. “Growing up, I enjoyed shabu-shabu at home with friends and family. Nabemono hot pot dining is a big part of Japanese and Asian cultures and communities, and I wanted to take it one step further, to not only educate guests on shabu-shabu, but to also innovate and elevate the experience.”
Nabemono covers a wide variety of Japanese dishes cooked in a lidded clay pot called a donabe. Shabu-shabu differs by allowing patrons to cook raw ingredients at the table similarly to fondue. Traditionally, the cooking broths are communal, but DipDipDip provides a personal cast-iron pot for each guest.
Each table setting, or ozen, consists of Koshihikari rice, ponzu, gomadare (sesame sauce), and broth. Choices include soy and kombu (kelp), smoky miso, soy milk-based tonyu nabe, and Tatsu-Ya’s signature 50-hour pork bone broth.
As with any shabu-shabu joint, DipDipDip offers a prolific assortment of meats, though the cuts are of uncommon quality (think coveted A5 Miyazaki Wagyu or sumptuously fatty Mugifuji pork belly). Original creations like tableside meatballs, new-school gyoza, and “pot pockets” — tofu skins stuffed with Reading raclette cheese and maitake mushrooms or cheddar grits and pork sausage — round off the menu.
Or at least one would think. DipDipDip continues the sensory overload by wheeling out custom carts stacked with fresh seafood, skewers, seasonal vegetables, house-made noodles, fresh tofu, and gyu maki (beef rolls) — one made with Niman Ranch beef, foie gras, and braised daikon.
All of the above can be augmented by dipping sauces. Keeping with Tatsu-Ya’s playful spirit, Keep Austin Dipping reimagines queso with yuzu kosho, a paste-like condiment combining its namesake citrus fruit with chiles and salt.
The restaurant group’s beverage program, which has become increasingly sophisticated since the opening of the first Ramen Tatsu-Ya in 2012, continues to evolve at DipDipDip. Japanese ingredients reinvigorate the cocktail menu, like in the Gibu martini, which adds barley shochu and a rakkyo pickle (Chinese onion) to the traditional build.
The bigger news, however, is that DipDipDip will introduce the group’s first wine program. The list will include both big-dollar selections and a handful of trendy natural wines.
In following such curated food and beverage menus, the dining room is equally obsessed with the fine touches. Frequent design partner McCray & Co. outfitted the strip mall space with wood lanterns, handwoven Japanese baskets, and custom tile, and the list of collaborators includes Japanese street artist ESOW, A&K Woodworking, Noah Marion, Clay Imports, and Era Ceramics.
DipDipDip will initially be open Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday from 5-10 pm and Friday and Saturday from 5-11 pm. It doesn’t require a particular adeptness at prophecy to know each service will be packed.