tonchin (109 N. 3rd St.) is a new Japanese restaurant in Williamsburg that recently opened on July 13th. The Sugeno family opened the first Tonchin restaurant in Tokyo in 1992, and they now own several throughout Asia.
Twenty-five years after the first Tonchin opened, Anan Sugeno continued her family’s legacy by opening a location in midtown Manhattan. Tonchin, which means “to bring together” in Japanese, went on to receive a Michelin Bib Gourmand award and has now opened its second New York-based location in Williamsburg.
Williamsburg general manager Dylan Capello said green pointers that during the pandemic, guests stopped going to Tonchin’s Midtown location. After some research, the team discovered that many regulars lived in Brooklyn.
“We realized we needed an outpost in Brooklyn. During the pandemic, people weren’t in Manhattan,” Capello explained.
The Tonchin team started by opening a pop-up in Bushwick in May 2020. “We sold out on day one,” Capello said, so the Tonchin pop-up continued for another three months. Capello said much of the menu focused on dishes people could eat while walking down the street, such as shaved ice and cocktails from Tonchin.
After the success of the pop-up, the Brooklyn site became permanent. The Williamsburg neighborhood was chosen because “it’s central,” Capello said.
The Williamsburg location also has its own unique menu. “About 80% of the menu is different,” Capello said. “People deserve a caring restaurant. There was no copy-pasting. »
One of the best dishes, exclusive to Williamsburg, is Shima-aji. It is made with mashed raw striped jackfruit and anchovies in a green garlic sauce with chives and pistachio.
Capello also described a dessert made exclusively for the Williamsburg site in partnership with local Greenpoint tea brand, Kettl. It’s a tea-flavored panna cotta drizzled with local Williamsburg brand, Andrew’s Honey and mint olive oil. “It’s full of flavor,” Capello said.
“We love the way Brooklyn comes together as a community, so we want local partnerships to happen as much as possible,” Capello said.
The rest of Tonchin’s menu includes tonkotsu ramen and Japanese-style wings. It also includes starters like the Kyuri, with Parisian cucumber, sweet onion vinaigrette and purple shiso, and oysters with umami clam jelly, grapefruit and kabosu mignonette, as well as Yakitori options like a skewer of chicken tsukune dumplings with tare-umami sauce, quail egg yolk, and homemade shichimi pepper.
Ramen options include Classic Tonchin Tokyo tonkotsu with homemade noodles, Tokyo tonkotsu broth, roasted chashu pork, nitamago egg, shallot, menma seaweed and nori, and Spicy Tan Tan with homemade noodles , Tokyo tonkotsu broth, roasted chashu pork, nitamago egg, shallot, menma, cashew nuts and chilli.
In addition to panna cotta, the dessert menu features the pop-up’s popular shaved ice in flavors like strawberry ichigo, strawberry sauce, honey cream and mint; mango with mango, mango sauce, honey and mint cream; and matcha with ceremonial-grade matcha, matcha sauce, honey cream, and asuki-sweetened red bean.
One of the “most shocking” menu changes, according to Capello, is the decision to scrap the cocktail program altogether and instead focus on natural wines. Capello said green pointers that the wine list currently includes around 90 bottles of natural wines from all over the world.
“We want to become a natural wine outpost,” Capello explained. Tonchin’s wine list includes some funky and exciting wines that can challenge even people who know wine well. “We want people to be excited when they look at the wine list,” the general manager said.
In addition to natural wines, the drinks menu offers a selection of homemade sakes, teas and sodas. Homemade soft drinks include options like Momo, with Japanese peach, fresh grapefruit, shiso syrup and shiso leaf, and Suika, with watermelon, pomegranate syrup, bitters of angostura and black sea salt from Hawaii.
Tonchin’s Williamsburg location features 60 seats and was designed by Carpenter + Mason, who also worked on Talea. The minimalist design features lots of natural materials and textures with bold geometric elements.
Tonchin is open Wednesday to Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.