TsuruTonTan Udon Noodle Brasserie is known for its $9.95 udon and donburi lunch specials. But the extensive happy hour menu is one of my favorites with its duck meatballs, seared wagyu sushi, $1.99 draft beers and $2.99 glasses of sake. Now, finally, there's also happy hour udon — more than 15 kinds, all full portions and some of them up to 50% off.
Udon bowls at happy hour range from $8 to $20. There’s seriously an udon option for every budget. But happy hour is also seriously shorter now. It used to run from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; now it's 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. The regular happy hour menu is available during this time and again from 8:30 p.m. until closing.
I slurped more than my share of udon at a recent media event. The TsuruTonTan Deluxe Udon ($17, regular price $25), one of the signature dishes, is a good mix of textures with assorted tempura and oyako-style chicken and egg accompanying the noodles.
If you’re feeling luxe, opt for this indulgent, creamy udon ($20, regular price $25), one of TsuruTonTan's most popular. it's not every day that you find uni crowning a bowl of noodles. This creamy sauce is similar to a carbonara. You definitely pick up the uni flavor and the tobiko caviar topping adds small pops. You can choose between skinny or thick udon noodles for your bowl.
This udon features grated daikon and a generous portion of ikura. The discounted $15 price is a lot friendlier than the normal $22.
Other udon bowls you'll find at happy hour range from simpler options like beef, chicken, vegetable tempura and shrimp tempura udon to the more elaborat mentaiko ankake (mentaiko caviar in egg drop broth); hot and sour udon with beef, eggplant and mushrooms, and the TsuruTonTan Creme Deluxe, which has shirmp, salmon, chicken and mentaiko.
Besides the udon, there are other new adds to happy hour. Here are some of the highlights. Spoiler alert: More uni coming.
If you want something a little lighter but still tasty, get the fried agedashi tofu (regular price $7) bathed in a housemade dashi sauce.
The Hamachi kama is one of my new happy hour faves and one of the best deals on the menu. Look at the size of the yellowtail collar! Order this ASAP, since orders are limited.
The $18 uni sashimi is one of the priciest dishes at happy hour, but still a must for uni lovers. This small plate comes with five lobes.
See also: Best late-night happy hour: Our Top 5
Chicken wings are a happy hour staple; these have a nice, crispy skin (regular price $11). They’re especially addictive with the sharp yuzu pepper.
The Spam, konbu and ume are tiny compared to the amount of rice. Still, the musubi are a fun option.
Despite the shorter hours, TsuruTonTan’s happy hour is still one of the best deals around. Deciding what to order just got harder for me, though, thanks to all these bowls of udon.
Royal Hawaiian Center
2201 Kalakaua Ave.
Daily udon happy hour 2:30-5:30 p.m.
Parking: 2 hours free validated in the Royal Hawaiian Center garage