Friday, June 6, 2014

Tsuru Tontan: Mega-sized Udon

I've heard about Tsuruton and even walked past one of its outlets quite a few times without entering it. Tsuruton is a casual udon house with several outlets in Tokyo and Osaka. What sets it apart from the traditional udon house is its variety and size. The menu offers more than 30 kinds of udon, with interesting spin offs such as tomato cream bacon claypot, spicy jelly sakura Ebi cold udon and curry Tonkatsu udon etc.
And as a mentaiko and carbonara pasta lover, I had no qualms picking the Mentaiko Cream Triple Delights Udon (1890 yen), a giant pool of white cream sauce with generous dollop of mentaiko. Triple delights refer to scallop, prawns and chicken. Even for Mentaiko alone, there are already several options to choose from. If it hasn't rain that day, I'll pick the cream-free Mentaiko Cold Udon.

The menu comes with English subtitles and large mouthwatering pictures. However, DO NOT expect the real thing to look exactly like the menu. For instance, the Bouillabaisse   Udon appeared to have plenty of clams, cuttlefish and other seafood on the menu but turned out to look as plain as home-cooked Maggie Mee style udon with no sight of ingredients.

Nonetheless, we double-checked and yes, it was THE bowl we ordered. Take a scoop of the broth with the big wooden spoon and the ingredients will resurface. Taste-wise, the broth is light and sweet.

And when I say mega-sized, I meant that the portions here are SUPER LARGE, despite the fact that we had already chosen the smallest amount for noodles. Yes, you can choose small, medium or large for noodles without paying extra. Look at how BIG it was compared to the iPhone lying beside it!!!

The signature udon is this Tsuruton Sanmi (Tsuruton Triple Delights). It comes with a HUGE slab of "taupok" aka "kitsune" whose surface area is about the same as my table cloth, shabu pork, seaweed and scrambled eggs. I actually loved this more than my creamy mentaiko because the richness of the clear shoyu-based soup is toned down significantly but still retained the umami-ness. Plus, the "taupok" has absorbed all the essence of the broth and tasted so sweet!

And...this udon comes with a platter of mixed tempura and dipping salt. Though there's nothing to extraordinary to speak of the tempura, it is always the perfect companion to go with udon.

Besides udon, the menu extends to even sushi, donburi and salads. The Sakura Ebi Salad (780 yen) is a spring limited dish which became the STAR of the night. The generous amount of crunchy Sakura Ebi, shirasu, sweet cabbage, bamboo shoots, peas, cherry tomatoes and the zingy plum dressing demonstrated excellent teamwork and I would like to confer it the "Best Salad of the Year 2014" :)

Traditional Japanese Desserts

I was trying to find some walnuts in this Kurumi-mochi (Kurumi=walnuts) but there was none. It turned out to be plain balls of mochi coated lavishly in thick semi-green bean paste. Very very sweet.

So I prefer the homemade warabi-mochi in deep dark brown sugar syrup and kinako powder. The mochi was so elastic that we could hardly pick up a sizable mound with the toothpick.

Many choices that would suit the masses even if one doesn't fancy udon.

Not excellent but standard good quality food. Plus SPEEDY service (a bit too speedy)
Giant portion. Great prices. 
Not a family-friend place unless you head to the SMOKE-FREE outlet at Roppongi.
This Shinjuku Kabukicho outlet? Expect crowds of Kinpatsu hito aka golden hair Ah Bengs slurping loudly on Udon.
Tsurutontan つるとんたん
Summer Menu Here and Store Outlets Here
Various Stores: Nishi-Shinjuku / Roppongi/ Tokyo Marunouchi/ Haneda Airport

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