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Tonkatsu double-date in Tokyo (Dec ’14)

4 Jan

1. Butagumi in Nishiazabu

  • Address: 2-24-9 Nishiazabu, Minato, Tokyo 106-0031, Japan
  • Telephone: +81 3-5466-6775
  • Chef: Satoshi Oishi

Butagumi is probably the most written-about Tokyo tonkatsu restaurant by the gaijin bloggerati, so I will not belabor the belabored. For background on Butagumi, the best is Tomostyle’s write-up, linked below:

  • Tomostyle write-up – “Chef Oishi is a man with a particular kodawari for fine pork, and he has dedicated his life tokiwameru the quintessential Japanese pork dish- tonkatsu. Tonkatsu, or deep fried breaded pork cutlet, is the ultimate comfort food.   Hearty cuts of juicy pork meat with a crispy panko crust, drizzled with tonkatsu sauce, are loved by kids, housewives and businessmen alike.  Chef Oishi got his first start in the culinary world in a tonkatsu restaurant, after which he went on to pursue French cuisine.  However, in 2005, he came back to his roots.  After traveling around the world in pursuit of the finest pork and the equally fine ingredients with which to make tonkatsu, he opened a tonkatsu restaurant called Butagumi (which means ‘pig clan’).  In his restaurant, he proudly serves what he calls the 究極のトンカツ, or the ‘ultimate tonkatsu’.”
  • A history of tonkatsu from WSJ’s Mark Robinson, dating back to 2009

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Tomatoes (smoky, sour, intensely flavorful)


It brought to mind the great roasted tomato sauce at Canim Cigerim in Istanbul, another ostensibly one-dish restaurant that does multiple things well.

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[sirloin] Himuro-Buta from Gunma, 2 month aged, deluxe


Such a guilty pleasure. 50-60% fat, with a distinct savory pork note, The dark fat bits were bursting with an almost bacon-y unctuousness.

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[tenderloin] Meishan-ton from Ibaraki prefecture

I could not resist a second helping. God help my arteries. This had no fat, and the unctuous deliciousness of the Himuro-Buta sirloin was not present. It had a clean, swinish taste. I greatly preferred my tonkatsu with fat. At Butagumi, that means sirloin.


2. Tonkatsu Taihou in Meguro

  • Address: 1 Chome-6-15 Meguro, Tokyo 153-0063, Japan
  • Telephone: +81 3-3491-9470

I visited Tonkatsu Taihou on the strength of this review by eataku. I must say that I am especially impressed by the panko (breading of the cutlet), which is crispier than Butagumi’s. The quality of the pork cutlet itself was very good, and my palate was not able to discern a difference in taste between Butagumi’s Himuro-Buta tonkatsu and Taihou’s toku rosu tonkatsu.

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Toku rosu (5/5)

Extremely crisp breading, delicious melty fat. Crispier than Butagumi’s breading, if that floats your boat.

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Menchi (hamburger patty)

I didn’t like this one as much, due to the existence of patty-interlopers – onion. (3.25/5)