Tonkatsu that highlights the natural flavors and delicate interplay of its ingredients
Owner: Koki Yoshihara
For this installment we visited Meguro, a district where historic streetscapes mix with modern offices and business spaces. Here, we found “Tonki Meguro,” a veteran establishment founded in 1939. The pork coated in thin, crispy breading is substantial without being greasy, making it a crowd-pleaser for all ages and tastes. In the past several years the number of international customers has also increased, with foreign visitors now making up as much as 30% of the restaurant’s clientele. We investigated the reason for its enduring popularity across nationalities and age groups.
Carefully apply three even layers of flour and egg.
Pounding the pure Japanese pork to tenderize it would be unthinkable. Egg and flour are evenly applied three times each to the surface of the meat in alternating layers. The meat is then gently dipped in finely-ground fresh panko to avoid ruining the carefully layered coatings of egg. This brings out the mild flavors of the meat and egg and enhances the depth of the tonkatsu’s taste.
Fry slowly at a low temperature with 100% lard.
Only lard is used for frying. The tonkatsu is patiently fried for about 20 minutes at a relatively low temperature of 150-160°C in a blend of new oil and oil that has been used to fry tonkatsu once before. This brings out the sweetness of the meat and preserves its tenderness.
The resulting crispy, yet non-greasy taste accommodates even daintier palates.
Store's favorite sauce
The unique sweetness of the sauce originates in a secret recipe.
Worcestershire sauce serves as the base in a special sauce prepared according to a secret recipe. This recipe is only passed down to former apprentices who have completed many years of service to the restaurant and are ready to be entrusted with their own franchise. Painstakingly cooked for 3-4 hours in a large cauldron, the sauce has a unique sweet taste. There are many different elements that arrive on the customer’s plate, each involving careful preparation. The tonkatsu is lovingly coated with delicate breading. The cabbage is light and airy because the stalks and hard portions are removed, leaving only the leaves to be finely chopped. Even the rice is specially cooked in an old-fashioned broad-brimmed iron pot. The restaurant’s original sauce complements all of these, bringing them together in mouthwatering harmony.
Ready to eat
This dish is the “Loin Katsu Set” (1,900 yen). With a thick loin cut coated in crispy-fried, delicately prepared breading, you can truly savor the delicious fat of the pork. Other popular dishes include the “Tenderloin Katsu Set” (1,900 yen), which uses less breading for health-conscious palates, and the “Skewered Katsu Set” (1,400 yen) served kebab-style on a skewer with green onion.
This restaurant is only a 3-minute walk from Meguro Station. The first-floor seating along an unvarnished wood counter encircles the large kitchen, letting patrons watch the skills on display at every stage of the seamless assembly-line preparation process. This “tonkatsu theater” is one of the restaurant’s big draws. The second floor has tables and traditional Japanese tatami mat seating where families can enjoy a more leisurely dining experience. Visitors from overseas don’t need to worry about how to order, because the restaurant also offers a complete English menu.
|Address||1-1-2 Shimomeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo|
|Telephone number||(+81) 3 - 3491-9928|
|Working Hours||16:00 - 22:45 (last order)|
|Off days||Tuesdays and third Monday of every month|