Hakata Tonton: Dishes Infused with Sincerity
This is good stuff. Hakata Tonton is one of my favorites in the city. I say that a lot but this time I really mean it. I've been coming here since I moved to New York. Prices have risen about $5 per dish since then but quality is still the same, if not better. Even with the increases, the food is still reasonably priced. I haven't tried everything on the menu but I'm sure it's all amazing. I have so much respect for Hakata Tonton because you can taste the humility and honesty in the food. Hakata Tonton serves the food it loves and does not try to be something it isn't.
Oh yeah. No tip - Japanese Style. [Edit: 11/16/2017 -They ask for tips now...]
Address: 61 Grove St. New York, NY 10014
Spicy Tuna Carpaccio
Grilled Pork Tonsoku
Hakata Tonton Hot Pot
Black Sesame Ice Cream
When I come, I usually get the same order. To start, the Spicy Tuna Carpaccio with scallions, fried garlic chips, and spicy mayonnaise is addicting (see above). The tuna is soft and flavorful. It's light, refreshing, and tangy. The garlic chips are savory and heartwarming. Also, their crack sauce makes me want to sob. This tastes like poetry.
Hakata Tonton prides itself on serving delicious tonsoku, a.k.a. pig feet/knuckles. If you aren't so adventurous, it's not that bad. I used to dislike pigs feet because there's not a lot of meat. It's mainly fat and collagen. But, when it's seasoned and cooked well, it can taste very, very good. So, I recommend that you give this one a shot.
We ordered the Grilled Pork Tonsoku with scallion and ponzu sauce. The tonsoku was grilled perfectly to give the meat a nice burnt flavor. Ponzu sauce tastes of citrus and vinegar. It is made primarily of ponzu (citrus) sauce and soy sauce. I beg you to try the spicy yuzukoshu sauce with the tonsoku. It's one of the condiments on the table. It will change your life. It's pretty strong but it's my favorite sauce right now and it goes really well with grilled meat.
Hakata Tonton is also famous for their hot pot. We ordered the Hakata Tonton Hot Pot, which contains collagen broth, tofu, dumplings, vegetables, Berkshire pork belly, and tonsoku. It's ideal for sharing between two people. And, it's perfect for those cold winter nights. The preparation was very quick and it took about ten minutes for them to prepare this offering to my belly. Then, they brought this large pot of happiness to our table on a portable hot pot stove.
After a few minutes, the mixture transformed into a big, boiling pot of delight. Every little piece of the hot pot was amazing. But, the best part, for me, was the bright orange broth. I'm salivating at the thought of it. The high fat content in the pork belly and tonsoku gives the stew a rich and collagen-filled broth. The hot pot will continue to boil the soup and the broth will get thicker and more concentrated as the water evaporates. If you have room for more, you can order a a bowl of ramen to eat with the rest of your broth.
Oh my. This thing. And, to think that the meal couldn't get any better. I tried my first black sesame ice cream here back in 2010. And, it was as if a part of my tasting palette had been unlocked forever. To this day, this is one of my favorite flavors for ice cream. Hakata Tonton's black sesame was rich, creamy, and heavenly. It was and will always be the perfect ending to my meals at Hakata Tonton.