Tsurutontan Udon Brasserie: Union Square, Manhattan, NY, NY, USA
Oh man, where do I start. I am so glad my friend Claire introduced me to this udon brasserie because it literally has become one of my go-to places for udon. It is a very large space, but it can get quite crowded so I do recommend a reservation if possible. I did eat at another udon joint just days earlier, and there is definitely a difference between the two. Truthfully, it depends on the mood you are in. Tsurutontan is your special, deluxe, fusion-not-fusion type of decadent udon. It isn’t the type of udon that you can find in your average izakaya since they elevate it in both serving style and type. For one, they not only have your traditional type udon served in dashi broth, they have a slightly richer broth that is “flavored” dashi. Then they totally explode your mind with creme-based udon, curry-based udon, and then cold udon. #mindblown .
They make all the noodle from scratch at the beginning of the day and for health purposes, you cannot take any of the extra noodles or dishes home. Bring an appetite or let it go people. There is a plus for those who have the stomach space: you can get an XL portion with more udon noodles (but again, you cannot take it back). The normal serving is already pretty hefty, especially for light to moderate eaters like myself. I did have a guy-friend come into town and he was pretty stuffed after a regular portion. This sits a little heavier especially if you order a creme-based or curry sauce as well. The thing I have managed to indulge in include:
- wagyu beef sushi with fresh Cali uni
- creme deluxe udon
- curry deluxe udon
- uni cold udon
This is from two visits to this restaurant hence the three udon dishes.
Wagyu Beef with Uni sushi appetizer: initially on my first visit, this was a special. On the second visit here, it was so good I added the uni since it wasn’t offered as a special.
- melts in your mouth: literally the fat and richness of wagyu beef is the best that I’ve had the combination with fresh uni is unbelievable. This alone kicks it up to five stars.
- whatever little jelly cube they put on top, it adds that extra burst of richness to the bite that goes all over your mouth.
- for the price, it’s a slight stab to the wallet, especially as an appetizer. I want to say it’s like $10 for the sushi and an additional $10 for the uni add-on? For the flavor, it’s out of this world and I think my friend Carlos would say it’s worth it.
Creme Deluxe Udon
- super filling: definitely shareable
- good flavor: not overwhelmingly cheesy like a lot of sauces can get but there is definitely a distinct cheese flavor meaning they didn’t skimp out on it
- goes well with the udon: as a lighter type of noodle but still with a smooth surface, it holds enough sauce but isn’t overwhelmingly heavy
- almost too heavy and rich: we couldn’t eat anything else after this dish because it was so heavy.
- too much sauce compared to the other ingredients such as the shrimp and meat – would also prefer some more vegetables.
Curry Deluxe Udon
- also super filling, very shareable as well great for curry lovers, sauce was even and no chunks of roux noted good amount of sauce to toppings ratio
- the katsu was ON POINT: not too dry and not overly burnt or overcaked with panko
- very rich: eat this last before any lighter types of dishes such as classic udon or even the cold udon dishes
Uni Cold Udon
- nice and light, no heavy sauces
- good uni and seafood flavor: you have to like seafood and definitely love uni though
- doesn’t sit so heavily after the meal is over uses thin udon noodles so that it is able to soak the sauce a little better
- more fresh uni on top!
- The uni is slightly more firm than the Hokkaido uni I’ve had at some top notch sushi restaurants: this makes it slightly harder to break up and mix evenly in the udon. It’s doable, but just requires a little more work and still yet not quite evenly displaced.
- wagyu beef sushi with fresh Cali uni: ****.5 (4.5 stars)
- creme deluxe udon: ***.85 (3.85 stars)
- curry deluxe udon: ***.65 (3.65 stars)
- uni cold udon: ****.25 (4.25 stars)
I would totally come back just for the Uni Udon truthfully. I definitely prefer lighter dishes over heavier dishes but I can see myself coming here on a super cold day and getting a cream based udon, but it’d definitely have to be with someone because there’s no way I can finish something like this by myself. I’m totally a fan. The wagyu beef and uni sliders sold me with the uni udon. Definitely check them out!
21 E 16th St, New York, NY 10003 — (212) 989-1000
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