I have been wanting to write this post for awhile because it’s my favorite ramen shop in the Tampa Bay area. Actually, Japanese Kitchen Dosunco is probably my favorite ramen shop ever; even compared to some ramen restaurants in Japan. It took me awhile to write about it because every time I go, I eat the ramen right away and I don’t have anything to take pictures of. Finally, after numerous trips, I have calmed myself down and took the time to really take in the food, restaurant and the ambience.
Dosunco ramen opened in late 2015 and I was so excited to have a ramen restaurant in Tampa. There’s not many authentic Japanese restaurants in Florida, so when I heard of a new restaurant opening mainly focusing on ramen, I was there within a week after it opened.
Dosunco was packed the first month it opened and I don’t think they were prepared for how busy it was going to be. People were lining up to try out the newest ramen shop in town. I waited a good hour or so before I got the ramen on my first visit but I wasn’t irritated as I normally would be because the staff was genuinely apologetic and friendly. It was an all Japanese staff, which is unusual to see in Tampa, so I was very excited to try their food!
The restaurant is a pretty good size for a ramen shop with about 10 tables and a bar near the kitchen with another 10 seats or so. There are pictures on the walls of the chef Photoshopped in famous Japanese paintings which is hilarious. You can tell they have a sense of humor because they also have a chalkboard with fun characters and funny messages every week. They also offer a huge paper apron so you can protect your clothes while you are slurping on your ramen.
While you are waiting for a table on the bench by the entrance, there is a book shelf next to it with some Japanese comic books, a.k.a. manga, for you to read. It’s very reminiscent of traditional local ramen shops I go to in Japan. They also sell Dosunco T-shirts and other merchandise.
The menu is pretty small but with great selections. There are 7 different kinds of ramen, 3 kinds of udon, several appetizers, a couple of desserts and drinks like barley tea (which is complimentary), sake and Japanese beer. They recently added a special menu that features additional drinks, ramen and desserts as well.
I usually order the Shoyu-Ramen which is a soy sauce based broth with roasted pork, bamboo shoots, seasoned egg and green onions. I also order a couple of appetizers like the gyoza and karaage. I have tried other things on the menu as well such as the Green Salad (their sesame dressing is amazing), Abura Soba, Dosunco Ramen (miso ramen) and more. Everything I have tried so far has been absolutely delicious.
Gyoza is a pan-fried pork dumpling dish and comes with 6 pieces. I’m always weary of ordering gyoza at other Japanese restaurants because it’s usually a store-bought frozen version and it tastes awful. Dosunco makes all their food from scratch, so these dumplings taste exactly as the ones I have in Japan. Their kara-age, which are Japanese fried chicken nuggets, are equally as good and the chicken is really moist and juicy. One thing to note is that their kara-age changes flavor all the time, so you may not get the same flavor you had a month ago, but I don’t mind that because it’s part of being homemade. It’s truly authentic Japanese food.
The ramen is always the best part. Dosunco makes their special broth from scratch and it is one of the best tasting broths I’ve had; even compared to Japan. They add some pieces of roasted garlic to the broth as well, which gives it that extra special flavor that I’m obsessed with. They also give you a generous portion of roasted pork. They recently changed their selection of pork and it is even better now! They cook the noodles to perfection and I finish my ramen within 5 minutes because it just so damn tasty.
I love this restaurant so much that I go here once a week and have become a regular. I am very picky with my food, especially when it comes to ramen, so I started asking if they could cook my ramen a little less so that it’s more al dante. I can’t stand soft, soggy noodles (to the point where I won’t eat it). The staff happily took my order and ever since my special request, my funny waiter has named it “110” as in the noodles cook for 1 minute and 10 seconds; opposed to the the usual 90 seconds.
If you’re ever in the Tampa area, make sure to stop by Dosunco’s because this is as authentic as you can get when it comes to Japanese food around Florida.
JAPANESE KITCHEN DOSUNCO
ADDRESS: 3310 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33609
HOURS: Tue - Sat: 5PM - 10PM / Sun & Mon: CLOSED