A Japanese restaurant chain specializing in udon noodles is now open in Kenmore Square (500 Commonwealth Ave., Boston). Tsurutontan, which has roots in Osaka and has a dozen outposts throughout Japan, opened inside the Hotel Commonwealth last week, alongside (though not affiliated with) power trio Eastern Standard, Island Creek Oyster Bar, and the Hawthorne.
The Kenmore location is Tsurutontan’s fourth shop in the United States — it operates two restaurants in New York City and another in Hawaii. The star of the show at Tsurutontan is the thick, slippery udon noodle: Its menu features more than a dozen varieties, including beef udon in dashi broth, cold udon made with a spicy sauce and caviar, and lots more.
Tsurutontan also features sushi, sashimi, dumplings, and a menu of bar food that includes fried oysters, crispy eggplant, beef buns, shishito peppers, and more. Its bar program features a cocktail list heavy on sake and soju, sake and wine by the glass, and various bottled and draft beers.
Tsurutontan is Greater Boston’s fourth udon-focused restaurant to open in the past three years. Yume Ga Arukara — sibling to one of the area’s best ramen shops, Yume Wo Katare — opened in Porter Square in 2017; Love Art Udon opened on Commonwealth Avenue in Packard’s Corner in 2018; and Futago Udon opened in Audubon Circle (just down the street from Kenmore Square in the Fenway neighborhood) in 2019.
Udon shops aren’t the only Japanese restaurants currently popping off in and around Boston. Several ramen shops are planning to open in 2020; Brookline Village recently got a new izakaya; Porter Square got the reincarnation of a beloved Brighton izakaya; Coolidge corner is getting a Japanese grocery store and deli any day now; and Watertown is getting a conveyor belt sushi restaurant at its Arsenal Yards development.
Here’s the menu for Tsurutontan, which is currently open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily, with lunch hours slated to be added in the middle of February:
Update, 2:15 p.m.: This article has been updated to remove information about a dish that was originally slated to be an exclusive on the Boston menu; it is not currently available.
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