The Art of Good Soup: Tsurumen, Davis Square

Graphic art for "The Art of Good Soup" column is pictured. Graphic courtesy Camilla Samuel

This is a column about soup: what it tastes like, what it does to you. What it makes you dream and think about. The kind of soup you’ll tell your children about at the dinner table. For our sake and yours, we hope it’s also a column about good soup. Unfortunately, not all soups are good, just like life or our Tinder dates. Well, usually most Tinder dates are bad. Whatever.

Who are we? We are gorgeous, gorgeous girls who love soup. Sadie is a ginger, which makes sense because she enjoys a nice, hot tomato soup, preferably not spilled onto her clothing. But, she falls quite a lot  — skeptical of gravity as she is — so this is easier said than done. Ellie is a broth girl: she has lots of flavor but also carries the despicable behavior of leaving noodles behind. For this reason, she plays with her food.

Are we qualified to be reviewing soup? Probably not, but that makes it more interesting.

Tonight, we were shivering as we entered Tsurumen in Davis Square. We were confused at first, as we looked around, squinting for the menu. Finally, after an uncomfortable nudge from the cashier, we found it to the side of the register, displaying four options with pictures. This was good because we are ridiculously indecisive. And visual learners.

We both ordered the tamari shoyu ramen.

We sat down. In the short amount of time it took for our ramen to arrive, we noticed the scenery. Tsurumen was bare. They had a nice bar, and some interesting artwork on the walls in sporadic positions that didn’t really make sense. Obviously, they put more thought into their food.

The soup came out hot. This was a nice surprise because sometimes things that are supposed to be hot are not all that hot, like the Harleston showers or Tufts men. The noodles were not slimy. In fact, they were quite thin. Their length prompted a conversation about the proper way to consume one’s noodles. Do you commit to the full slurp? Or do you chomp down halfway through? We decided you chomp down, because when one is in a slurping position (her head face-to-face with the soup bowl), she is vulnerable. No soup is worth back pain.

Next, we noticed the garnishes. We decided that the scallions, not unlike the mitochondria, are the powerhouse of the bowl. That is not to say we don’t like onions. They add a nice purple, and onions have layers – like us, and like a bowl of soup.

Tsurumen was nothing to write home about. But, given we spent the entire day in the musty, cold Harleston common room, it was a nice adventure. We rate this soup five spoons. What’s the scale? Maybe we don’t know, or maybe we’re just keeping it from you. One thing is for certain — keep reading. There is lots of good soup ahead, because this is a column about good soup. If you didn’t get that.