I went to Totoro for lunch. It was a rainy day and a bowl of udon (Japanese noodle soup) seemed just the ticket. I ordered the tempura udon. It came with a cup of tepid tea and a small iceberg lettuce salad. The udon arrived with two pieces of ersatz tempura on a separate dish. The broth was fairly tasty-- rather like a doctored-up version of the instant powdered broth you get in instant udon. The noodles also had the same just-add-hot-water-and-serve quality. They were doughy and hard-- the right texture for easy shipping and long shelf life; the totally wrong texture to have been freshly made. In quantity and texture they were exactly like the udon noodles that you can buy in one of those plastic-wrapped packets in the Asian Food aisle of the supermarket. The shrimp was not tempura-- it came encased in an over-crisp, impenetrable armor of what seemed to be the kind of batter usually used for deep fried katsu dishes. I took one bite of the shrimp and had to leave the rest, along with most of the noodles. I will not go back again.
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