Hakata Tonton has been on my list for a very, very long time. I’m pretty sure I bookmarked it on Yelp years ago. When I asked my sister where she wanted to go for her birthday dinner this year and she said Hakata Tonton, I quickly made a reservation. No questions asked!
We arrived at 8pm for our reservation and waited a bit for a booth table to clear up. It was about 30 degrees that night, so it was perfect for hot pot.
We started off the night with a ton of appetizers, because we’re giant piggies and cannot just have a main dish! First to arrive was perhaps my favorite appetizer of the night – the Seared Scallop and Sea Urchin. The dish comes with 6 scallops, each topped with some glorious uni. The uni was fresh and super sweet, which actually, could be said for the scallops as well. I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely trip to the ocean.
Another standout appetizer was the Egg Omelet with Pork tonsoku and Scallion. Tonsoku, or pig’s feet, is their specialty after all, so this appetizer was stellar. The tonsoku melted into the omelet and the entire dish was just soft and melty.
We also ordered their TONTON Famous Homemade Gyoza, which is wrapped flat and seared on a hot plate instead of your typical dumpling-style gyoza. We were all “meh” about this dish. It didn’t blow our minds, but it wasn’t bad either.
Our last appetizer was the Garlic Fried Rice with pork tonsoku and egg. Again, the pig’s feet were incorporated perfectly with the fried rice. This dish was fragrant and flavorful – I could eat this all day!
For the hotpot, we had ordered 2 different ones and split both of them. We ordered –
Their signature HAKATA TONTON Hot Pot with Collagen broth, Tofu, Chicken, Dumplings, Vegetables (cabbage, chives, and spinach), Berkshire pork belly and Tonsoku, or pig’s feet.
Their Shabu Shabu Hot Pot with Collagen broth, vegetables, thin slices of Berkshire pork sirloin & pork belly.
I enjoyed both of them and I think they both had their merits. At the end of the day, it’s more up to personal preference. The Shabu Shabu hot pot takes a bit more work as you have to cook the meat yourself. But it is the lighter option in terms of taste and flavor profile. The Hakata Tonton hot pot is prepared and served by the waiters, so you do absolutely zero work. It is more flavorful and even a little bit spicy.
We were completely stuffed, but since it was my sister’s birthday, we had to get dessert. If you let them know ahead of ordering, they will close all the lights and bring out your desert with a candle and sing to you. I love that!
We ordered the Dessert Tasting Plate, which included their Cheese Mousse, Crème Brulee, Black sesame ice cream, and Mochi cake. My sister liked the cheese mousse the most, but I definitely thought the buckwheat Crème Brulee paired with the black sesame ice cream was the best. The buckwheat helped cut the usual super sweetness of the Crème Brulee.
Service was attentive enough – we did wish they were a little more attentive. Our dinner ended up being well over 3 hours, which I thought was insane.