We first knew of Guy Wong – Atlanta’s rising chef- through Miso Izakaya and then got our heart hooked by Le Fat, so it was inevitable that we just couldn’t wait to pay a visit to Ton Ton since it’s Wong’s third restaurant establishment – another great one we must admit. Being the only Japanese eatery in Ponce City Market, it manages to easily capture our eyes on the first round. You can either choose to dine in at a regular table setting or sit by the bar overlooking an open-space kitchen. As we loved to watch chefs working their magic and how our food is being prepared, we sit by the bar every time we come here. We like Ton Ton for everything it’s done, from wooden tables to Japanese-style curtain and wooden blocks. The ambience is great, as it’s always crowded that makes you feel like eating in a real Japanese eatery. However, it is Ton Ton’s menu that truly wows us.
Invincible Dan Dan Mazemen Ramen was incredible and truly one of its kind – with minced pork, runny egg, cucumber and fresh ramen noodles served over an addicting concoction of spicy soybean and Szechuan oil. The ramen was extremely chewy. Spices and flavors were just perfect that we can’t really say them out loud in words. We’d say that on the scale of 1-10 for spiciness, Dan Dan Ramen would be around 5. So give this dish a try if you can tolerate the Szechuan spiciness and you’ll win yourself a new favorite dish.
Remember however, after that extremely fragrant and inviting bowl of noodle is placed in front of you: don’t eat immediately! While it looks all pretty for the visual (as well as Instagram photo), Dan Dan Ramen is best enjoyed when everything is mixed together very VERY well. So be patient for just a few seconds, break up that yolk and MIX THEM UP. You know it’s ready to eat when everything is well combined and the noodles are beautifully and evenly coated in a mixture of oil and egg yolks. We also recommend asking for some extra chopped green onion to add to the mix as it helps neutralize the oily taste of the sauce. If you crave even more spiciness, don’t hesitate to ask for some chili paste on the side.
Hakata Tonkotsu Classic indeed satisfies anyone’s cravings for good ramen. The pork belly was awesome- soft, melt in the mouth and slightly flavored- we just got so much love for it. The pork belly was so soft and tender but never failed to please your taste buds. The ramen was al den, and we loved it when the chewiness remained after minutes of soaking in the broth. It’s gotta be some sort of advanced cooking technique on the ramen that it remains al dente upon serving.
Talking of ramen bowl, broth is inevitably important. Thanks to menma, wood-ear mushroom and butter garlic corn, the broth in Tonkotsu was super, super cool. It was creamy and thick enough that you’ll enjoy sipping it alternating with the ramen. It tasted sweet and rich, but absolutely not greasy in the mouth. Obviously, the high consistent and milky broth were the result of hours-long simmering of pork bones and fat. Lastly, a garnish of scallions and sesame seed made everything combine very well as the toppings add the necessary fragrance to the bowl.
Tori Shoyu, in a sense, was worth eating in our opinions. Unlike Tonkotsu, Tori Shoyu has very clear and light broth, featuring soy sauce, mirin and a piece of seasoned char siu. There was a ginger under-taste, which we really loved. However, ramen in a Shoyu bowl was not that of the degree of chewiness we’d like.
Tebasaki Wings is a very nice appetizer to begin with. It was crunchy, toasty hot and had a good balance of sweet, salty and sour. However, we believed that it was slightly overrated. Spices are definitely lacking, no hint of garlic or cilantro could be tasted. It was a very yummy dish – of course – but don’t expect anything extraordinary. Instead, do expect five hot and crispy wings that’s lightly coated in a beautiful Japanese sauce to start off your meal. This is a great dish to share with friends or snack over some beer on a chilling Friday evening.
Gyoza is a familiar name to everyone. Similar to other places that serve Gyoza in Atlanta, you would get a vinegar/ sweet soy sauce upon serving. The steaming hot veggie Gyoza had a thicker skin than we’d like. However, you can definitely tell the difference from the frozen ones sold in Asian market upon tasting this. Its filling was adequate and the sauce pulled everything together very nicely.
To conclude, here are our top picks:
• Invincible Dan DanMazemen
• Hakata Tonkotsu Classic
• We also heard that they have plans expanding their menu serving many more Japanese classics including yakitori. We’re happily waiting for that and meanwhile, you know we’ll stop by once in a while to satisfy our cravings!
Ton Ton is by far our favorite ramen eatery! Devouring a bowl of ramen, we sure have our own preference. In such, ramen accounts for a large part of whether the dish is good or not as it takes up to 70-80% in a bowl of ramen, portion-wise. We’ve been to Ton Ton many times. Each time, we ordered Dan Dan since it was just too good. But we realized Dan dan ramen is lacking in consistency. Some day it was chewier than the other. Since the noodles are the big part in a bowl of ramen, so it’s kinda disappointing for this to happen in our favorite restaurant. Yet, the flavor and sauce remained phenomenal.
Another concern is about the cooks at Ton Ton. As we sat by the bar a lot, we had seen cases of cooks not wearing face masks and covering up their hair. They even wore heavy makeup, which we thought is a big no-no. When cooking, steam opens up pores, which will melt down the makeup and might accidentally fall into the cooker. So we really think the restaurant should consider seriously about this matter of makeup and hair covering for higher safety standard of food.
Ton Ton Ramen
675 Ponce de Leon Ave NE, N151, Atlanta, GA 30308
Reservation: (404) 883-3507
Hours: 11am – 10:30 pm