this week’s opening of Hanon, on Union Avenue in Williamsburg and featuring more than 20 separate udon dishes on the menu, is definitely cause for excitement among NYC noodle heads.
Hanon’s origin story is a bit unusual for a restaurant. Or for anything, really. Back in Japan, a film production outfit called Rock’n’Roll Japan teamed up with the venerable Sagami Rubber company, which is famous for making the thinnest condom in the world, to do an ad campaign. Which then apparently won an award at Cannes. Which prompted the team to go into the udon business? They opened their first restaurant in Kamakura, a city known for its soba, which was such a success they decided to expand their operation to the “center of the world, NYC.” And so, enlisting the help of Yudai Kanayama, who worked on the launch of East Village’s Izakaya and the great Davelle on Suffolk Street, they’ve done just that, with Hanon.
There are two kinds of udon available here, the pale Zenryufun and the green Sasauchi, which gets its color from both bamboo and barley leaves. Both are made on premises from fusama and haiga, a wheat bran and wheat germ that are reputedly low fat and high protein. The dishes are divided about equally between hot and chilled; the former come in the familiar steaming bowls of broth and are packed with fish, vegetables, and/or meat, depending; the latter is served dipping style.
436 Union Avenue
(btwn Metropolitan Avenue and Devoe Street)