We wanted to show our love for noodles with a special feature on a restaurant that does the udon variety very well. What exactly is udon? Udon noodles are thick wheat flour noodles that originated in China and were introduced to the Japanese over 1200 years ago.
With the short history lesson aside, let’s introduce you to TsuruTonTan. Originally from Kagawa prefecture in Japan, TsuruTonTan opened its doors in 1979 to the city of Shikoku, offering authentic, handmade udon noodles. The restaurant is known for its extensive research on different types of udon throughout Japan and its particular focus on finding the best bowls for its presentation.
The name TsuruTonTan represents the following: “tsuru” is the sound of slurping noodles, “ton” is the sound of kneading and shaping udon, and “tan” is the sound of cutting the udon. The menu represents Japanese classics, as well as more innovative dishes. Each bowl of noodles comes in a beautifully super-sized bowl, black for the warm noodles and mint green glazed for the cold noodles. Located where the original Union Square Cafe used to be, TsuruTonTan offers an upscale atmosphere with its dimmed lights, high ceilings, and wooden interiors. We headed over to the restaurant with friends on a Monday night (making reservations is always a nice way to avoid wait time). For appetizers, we ordered Edamame ($6), Crispy Corn Kakiage ($8), and Soy Garlic Fried Tatsuta Chicken ($12). We loved the crispy corn that were fried into little corn chips. For main dishes I ordered the Mentaiko Caviar Udon ($17) and Naomi ordered the Tsurutontan Deluxe ($24). Although slightly on the salty side, the cold mentaiko caviar noodles were perfectly chewy with a hint of spiciness. The deluxe bowl was a warm version with a variety of tempura vegetables and shrimp, as well as thin beef slices, chicken and an egg dropped. The noodles were again, super chewy, and the broth, a heart-warming bonito base.
Some honorable mentions include the Tsuruton Créme Deluxe ($24) for those looking for a rich meal and the US Wagyu Shabu Udon ($21) for all truffle and beef lovers. All in all, TsuruTonTan is a great way to enjoy authentic Japanese udon noodles, whether it’s your first time or if you’re a long time lover.
21 E 16th St, New York, NY 10003