Posted by: thewhitesintokyo | June 7, 2009

Tonkatsu

Good food can be found all over the world and we’ve personally had memorable meals in each country we’ve visited on four continents. But there is something special about traditional Japanese food that is more unique and enchanting. The simple ingredients and artful presentation of dishes here make it difficult for me to even imagine not having this food readily available in a few years.

Last night, we visited a new restaurant. Let me clarify- the restaurant is new to us, but the owners has been doing the exact same thing for over forty years now. If forty years doesn’t perfect your skills at doing one thing really well, then I don’t know what does.

This couple owns and operates a small izakaya in the Tokyo area of Yoga. Their apartment sits directly above the restaurant and inside is seating for six at the counter and two tables of four. They serve many things Japanese, but specialize in making “tonkatsu” (a sort of fried pork cutlet). We had a little too much fun with the camera tonight, so here’s a bit of a photo essay of the night’s meal.

First, we had to re-find the place. I went there last week with my Japanese teacher for a sayonara meal before summer break. It was tough to find again except for the tell-tale lamp with the word “tonkatsu” written on it.

(From top to bottom, to-n-ka-tsu)

Rachael, nervously peeking in to ask for a table for two.

Falling in love with the mama-san,
a feisty woman who reminds me of my grandma.

As we sat at the bar/counter, we noticed others ordering various starters, so we pointed and said, “we’ll have what they’re having.” A few minutes later, we enjoyed these delicious stuffed chicken wings:


The guy next to us ordered a couple appetizers too: pork rolled up with a shiso leaf and a bowl of juicy intestines. He offered to have us try both, which we did. Surprisingly, the intestines weren’t that bad. Apparently all the meat products are pretty high quality and fresh since there is a butcher behind the wall of the restaurant.

For the main course, I ordered the traditional tonkatsu set: a specially breaded pork cutlet, fresh chopped cabbage, miso soup, rice, and my favorite tonkatsu sauce. Rachael decided to branch out and try “katsudon” for the first time. Basically, it’s tonkatsu that’s been omeletized by cooking it in a small pan with eggs and a special sauce. Then, it’s served on white rice inside a very cool little bowl. Check out the process from preparation to final result- DELICIOUS!


What a great meal and experience with this talented Japanese cooking couple!

Rachael’s blogs about this are much better than mine. Check ’em out here:

40 Years of Tonkatsu

The Little Details

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