Friday, November 27, 2015

Tsuru Ton Tan

Location: Tsuru Ton Tan

Rating: Very good
Meal: Lunch for 3
Price: 5380 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Special Udon, Creamy Seafood Udon, sukiyaki don, salmon roll, yakiniku roll
English Menu: Yes

For our first meal back from the Philippines, we ate again at Haneda Airport.  It was a little past lunch time, so we thought we might have a chance at getting into the restaurant that usually has the longest line, Tsuru Ton Tan.  We weren't even sure what kind of food they had there, but it was probably good given the line.

"special" udon with tempura

Turns out it's a mainly Udon noodle restaurant, with some side dishes.  There were tons of options on the huge, well laid out menu.  We liked the look of the restaurant "special" udon with the normal broth, but wanted to try a creamy udon as well, so I got the mixed seafood and chicken.  My son didn't like the look of anything so he opted for a sukiyaki don.  We also wanted to sample the sushi rolls, so we got 2 small orders (3 pieces) of a salmon roll and a yakiniku roll.

Creamy udon broth

We have a complicated relationship with udon.  We used to think we loved it, as our first experience was of having it in the US at a Vietnamese restaurant.  When we got to Japan, we found ourselves liking udon less and less, as it just seemed more difficult to eat with less payoff than, say, soba noodles.  It's also a really "cheap" Japanese food, so you usually find it in cheap restaurants with rather nasty old tempura and a very plain broth.  Not much to recommend it.

Sushi rolls

But this place has shown us a glimpse of how excellent real udon can be.  The "special" dish's broth was sooooo delicious, slightly sweet.  And the creamy dish was great too, if a little heavier.  The noodles themselves were really good too.  Both of us were stuffed by the end and couldn't finish it all.  The bowls at this restaurant are enormous, and when you order, they ask if you want 1, 2 or 3 orders of noodles.  When you see the bowls, you'll see why, as they are in a flare shape and get very wide at the top, allowing for a ton of volume if you wanted to add more noodles.  We went with just 1 and it was plenty.

Sukiyaki don

My son's sukiyaki don was really tasty too, though he didn't care for the extra bits of tasty gobo root.  It had that sweet sukiyaki taste and came with a soft egg on top.  My wife preferred the salmon roll (it was smoked salmon) while I liked the yakiniku roll better.

Overall, it was a great reinvigoration of the idea that udon doesn't have to be cheap, nasty and unpleasant.

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