The insanely popular Japanese noodle chain TsuruTonTan made its United States debut this past fall by dropping into the old Union Square Cafe space on 16th Street.  I'll admit I was biased from day one...anything that pushed out MY Union Square Cafe was terrible and should be shunned.  However after reading some great reviews and finally accepting the true fact that they did NOT push USC out, the landlord did, I jumped at the chance to check it out when Mr. T suggested we dine there.

 First thing to note- this place always has a line.  Even at 5:45 PM we were quoted an hour and 30 minute wait.  We were about to see what else was available when I noticed two spots at the tiny bar up front.  Udon is only served in the main dining room but the bar is a great place to sip some delicious cocktails while you wait.

We were both starving that night so we may have slightly over ordered.  Here’s a rundown of our appetizers:

Creamy Spicy Shrimp Tempura topped with spicy sesame cream and micro-greens.  The tempura batter was so clean and light with an intense nutty flavor from the sauce.  Mr. T loves absolutely loved these.

Seared Wagyu Beef Sushi- not so pretty to look at but quite tasty.

Beef Sukiyaki Buns slow cooked with cucumbers.  These were delicious; tons of flavor in the tender beef with fried crisps on top to give it that satisfying crunch.

Only the Spicy Tuna Tartare Cones missed the mark.  The crispy cone and avocado puree completely over took the flavor of the tuna and all of the textures just kind of ran together.

For our main entree the Uni Udon with shiso, nori and uni daishi sauce.

This dish was so silky and rich; the fresh uni melting right into the cold noodles with just a bit of stirring while the sesame and shiso enhanced that salty, bottom of the ocean flavor only uni lovers can fully appreciate.

Mr. T and I both loved TsuruTonTan.  The dishes were excellent and the portions were large. We both agreed we could split a hot udon (which were slightly larger) and one appetizer on our next visit and be quite satisfied.  This is an excellent new addition to the Union Square neighborhood and now that USC is back open up the street, everything is as it should be.

21 East 16th Street
New York, NY 10003