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とよ常 Excellent Ten-Don
Price: 750 yen
There are a couple Toyo Tsune locations in Beppu – one in front of Beppu Station, where we went, and one in the nearby Kitahama neighborhood. It was recommended by Cabosu Hostel where we stayed.
They're only open for a few hours (11-14) for lunch and there was at least a 15 minute wait. The customers were a mix of regular locals and impatient tourists (some of whom left before their turn).
The restaurant serves as an izakaya style bar with Japanese tables, plenty of families were eating there, and as far as I could tell no one was smoking inside. Their menu has plenty of seasonal foods, sashimi, and beef dishes, although the recommended and popular dish is their tempura.
I couldn't decide if I wanted their specialty TokuJyo Ten-Don or Tori Ten-Don, which is more of a local specialty. I went with the Toku Jyo Ten-Don for 750 yen and my husband got the same with the extra prawn for 320 yen more. Lunches come with red miso soup and a small dish of pickled veggies. Mugi cha was also served with pitchers on the bar and tables for refills.
The food was presented beautifully but with the efficiency of a chain gyudon restaurant. The regular size TokuJyo Ten-Don came with tempura made from two prawns; one each of shishito pepper, nasu (Japanese eggplant), satsuma imo (sweet potato), and kabocha (pumpkin). One of the things I love about Japanese food is that it uses seasonal foods, and this menu had a late summer / early fall feeling. The extra prawn price included only one extra prawn but one fewer vegetable tempura. The bowl was bigger and it looked the amount of rice was a little more, but not worth the extra cost.
Everything was delicious. I'd go again and still want to try the Tori Ten-Don. A good value for the price.