Tempt your senses at famous Tonkatsu TonkiMeguro, Tokyo
When you’ve been making one dish for 75 years, you’re sure to have it perfected. Tonkatsu Tonki in Tokyo is the epitome of understated eateries, with its white-clad chefs who prepare, while all the customers are watching, the three dishes they are famous for: pork cutlet in three different styles.
Breaded, deep-fried pork cutlets, known as tonkatsu, are a Japanese favourite, and Tonkatsu Tonki is the type of eatery people from all over Tokyo travel to. It's not just the three types of pork – toasted tonkatsu, tonkatsu fillet and skewer tonkatsu – that sets this place apart. It's the authenticity, the ambience, the customers crammed around the u-shaped bar, and the owner who remembers every order without jotting it down. Think Midnight Diner in Tokyo Stories.
What differentiates this tonkatsu from the rest of the pack is that the pork is not overcooked and chewy, but has a delicate, crispy outer layer with thick flavoursome juicy meat. The sauce is excellent, and the accompanying miso soup is to die for.
It’s often quite crowded, so you’ll be directed to a chair to wait before being shown to a spot at the bench surrounding the kitchen. It’s here you can really soak up the convivial atmosphere and process – the chef who covers the tonkatsu with flour, the cook who does the deep frying, another who cuts them up. Then there’s the chef who delicately places your tonkatsu on the plate. Watching this systematic flow is like watching the creation of art.
For between US$13 and US$19 you can have tonkatsu served with a piece of tomato, spicy wasabi and unlimited servings of sliced napa (cabbage) and rice. Wash it down with a bottle of Asahi and you're night will be fulfilled.
- Japanese-style schnitzel that’s been perfected over the course of 75 years
- With the unlimited servings of rice and cabbage you won’t leave hungry
- Watching your tonkatsu is being prepared at the different stations
- Look, it’s fun to watch the cooking, but there’s nothing for vegetarians to eat unless they’re happy with rice and cabbage
Tonkatsu dishes here start at about US$13.