I’ve been to Tsurutontan a few times already in various locations including Union Square and Midtown next to Rockafeller Center. When this Japan udon chain first opened in Manhattan a few years ago, there was a massive line because it was the first international location in the USA. The food was outstanding back then, and now it’s gone down a little in quality but still pretty good. This restaurant is known for having mammoth sized udon bowls which will most definitely satiate your appetite. They also have a variety of other Japanese sushi-esque dishes as well.
In both the Union Square and Midtown locations, the ambiance feels like a regular modern trendy Asian restaurant where it’s dark with some modern music playing overhead. Both locations resemble a bustling neighborhood vibe.
Service is fast at both.
For appetizers, the udon pon dumpling was alright. Nothing particular special about it.
The lobster tempura was decent, and there wasn’t anything particularly special about it. The tempura batter was pretty standard, and the lobster meat felt like it was a tad rubbery (overcooked). Probably wouldn’t get it again.
In the past, I’ve gotten the kimchi jigae variant. A bit sweet and would try something else.
I’ve also gotten the Tan Tan Udon, which is a spicy and creamy sesame broth with ground pork and chili oil. It was alright.
Pictured is the Tsurutonton Deluxe, which comes with shrimp and vegetable tempura, beef short plate, chicken, and egg dropped. It was alright too. The udon is thick and tasty, and the whole thing came in a gigantic bowl. What’s interesting is they asked if I wanted a regular bowl or a large with no upcharge. The large bowl is truly big though. All in all, it does taste like a chained Japanese restaurant, so definitely set your expectations.
EDITED for another visit again (Nov 22 2019)
The mini spicy tuna bowls were $4 each and were quite delicious.
The mini beef bowl was pretty good. It was a little on the sweet side, but you can think of it as a mini Yoshinoya bowl.
The wagyu shabu beef udon with truffle oil in dashi broth was actually really good. The dashi is light and the truffle definitely adds a layer of complexion to it. The shabu by the time it arrives is already cooked, so you don’t really get a sense of it was good meat or not.
The curry deluxe was ordered with thin udon and came with shrimp tempura, pork cutlet, and beef. I was honestly not a fan of this as I think the curry is way too intense. I rather eat this with rice than have my noodles soaked in the broth.
Added for a visit on July 22, 2022
The Tofu Steak ($9) came with homemade tofu and served with a soy based broth. The tofu was firm and similar to good store bought tofus.
The Spicy Tuna Roll ($10) came with 6 pieces. It tasted good, and nothing much to write about.
The Salmon Lover dinner set ($30) came with 8 pieces of salmon nigiri, spicy salmon roll, and salmon sashimi. The sashimi sat on a bed of daikon and a shiso leaf. The fish was fresh as expected.
The Salmon Lover dinner set also came with a small bowl of soy dashi udon. The broth was very good in that it was salted just right and had a nice flavor to it. The udon though was overcooked for me, but that’s fine. This restaurant tends to consistently serve their udon noodles about a minute past the al dente time.
All in all, the udon here is pretty good if you ever have the crave. It’s not really something that I recommend as a must, but it definitely hits the spot for that noodle craving.
Wagyu Sushi. Flavor is good, but Wagyu is too raw for us.
I read this and was wondering if this person wants to kill their meat a second time.
The wait is horrendous without a reservation. You must 100% have a reservation or expect to wait at least an hour for a group of 3-4.
This person is pretty wrong. I’ve sat down immediately in a group of 2 several times already. Yeah, I think it’s realistic to expect a group of 3-4 to have a wait if they didn’t have a reservation for a busy restaurant. Words of advice: if you don’t have a reservation in a group of 3-4, go early before everyone else. Going to eat at the same time as everyone else in this dense city is never a good idea.
- Jul 22, 2022 - Added tofu steak, spicy tuna roll, and salmon lover dinner set.
- Nov 22, 2019 - Added mini spicy tuna and beef bowls, wagyu shabu beef udon with truffle oil, and curry deluxe.
- Sep 16, 2018 - Initial revision.