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Tonki - The Review - Tokyo

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Tonki - The Review - Tokyo

Andy P. | Sep 4, 2000 10:40 AM

Konbanwa (Good Evening)-

Caveat: I regret that my command of the English language is not sufficient enough to totally express the rapture that Tonki brings to my soul every time I eat there....

I've been promising to myself to do this since I first found chowhound.com, and so now...here it is. The first real chowhound.com review of the BEST (and most famous) tonkatsu place in all of Tokyo. (Jim, I know that's it been mentioned in other messages, but I felt that it deserved it's own posting). :}

First, the definition of "tonkatsu" - Deep fried pork cutlet. In a much, MUCH earlier posting, (answering a question after WAY too much sake, I mistakingly posted that Tonki served chicken cutlets, as well. Sorry for the mistake) I feel that I must now amend for the error of my ways.

How great is it to be able to go to an always outstanding restaurant, rave about it, and be able to post their entire menu, (in a relatively short amount of space), on chowhound.com?

First, the menu (then the raves...):
Note: Since my keyboard at home does not have a "yen" symbol on it, I'll use a "Y" instead.

MENU
HIRE-KATSU TEISHOKU ----- Y1,650
Hire-katsu {fillet cutlets: all
lean meat, wt. 120g).
rice, miso soup and pickles.

ROHSU-KATSU TEISHOKU ----- Y1,650
Rohsu-katsu (Loin cutlets: some
fat meat. wt. 150g).
rice, miso soup and pickles.

HIRE-KATSU --------------- Y1,150
ROHSU-KATSU -------------- Y1,150
KUSHI-KATSU ---------------- Y700
(meat skewered with onion)

Beer ----------------------- Y650
Beer (small) --------------- Y350
SAKE ----------------------- Y470
Cola ----------------------- Y150

Yup, that's it, folk.

(My notes):
Difference between Hire-katsu and Rohsu Katsu:
HIRE-KATSU is pork tenderloin.
ROHSU-KATSU is a boneless pork chop.
Does this mean that there is an extra 30g. of fat on the Rohsu-Katsu? The answer is an absolute "NO WAY". It maybe, at the most, has an extra 6g-10g of fat on it. (But, of course, the flavor is exquisite)!

BTW. the Kushi-katsu is made from the pork tenderloin.

Now, for the raves. This is the absolute BEST tonkatsu that I've had the pleasure of experiencing in Tokyo. Yes, it is deep-fried, but like the best fried-chicken from the South, there isn't the slightest hint of an oily taste in the meal, or oily spot on your plate. The meat is so tender, and so pork-a-licious, while the batter on the outside of the tonkatsu is so crisp, that you'll think that you've gone to heaven. Each plate, whether or not you get the meal set (teishoku) or not, is served with all the shredded cabbage that you can manage.

The only difference between the meals that cost Y 1,650 and Y 1,150 is the addition of rice, miso soup, and pickles. Everything comes with bottomless cabbage. Also, all meals come with bottomless green tea (no extra charge).

Every meal comes with a mustard that is so good, (and SO hot, that just a dab will clear your sinuses, and bring tears to your eyes), along with a bottle of tonkatsu sauce, that you can augment the flavor of the meal to your taste. For some mystical reason, the tonkatsu sauce helps take the edge off of the mustard, without detracting from the mustard's flavor. (Hint...tonkatsu sauce is wonderful with shredded cabbage!).

If you get the meal set, you also get all the rice and miso soup that you can handle. And, being a wonderful restaurant, they do something with their miso soup that I haven't found anywhere else in Tokyo...they add chunks of pork to it, which makes for an unbelievable miso soup!

This meal is absolutely surreal. The only thing that is even more fun is when you order your first beer. Along with the beer, you get a dish of peanuts. 10 peanuts. Every time. We've counted.

This place is always crowded. The seating downstairs is around a large horseshoe counter, which surrounds the prep/cooking area. Fortunately, against the walls are benches and chairs for the waiting public. One of the things that they do great is this: As soon as you walk in the door, they take your order. So, soon after you've actually been seated, your meal arrives. They also have an upstairs dining area, (though I hesitate to mention it, since it seems to be a pretty guarded secret). Upstairs has regular tables (4-6 people), beer on tap, and about 5 tatami rooms, each of which accomodates about 6-8 people. When I'm with friends, I actually prefer to eat upstairs (seldom any wait).

I now eat here at least 3-4 times a month (since it is on my walk home from the train station). If you are ever in Tokyo, and have just one chowhoundy place to visit, this is the spot!! Shoot, drop me a message on this board (or an email), and afterward, I'll drag you half a block to my favorite British pub in Tokyo - great fish and chips...but, a different post for a different day.

Tonki is located at 1-2 Shimo-meguro 1-chome, Meguro-ku, Tokyo. (West side of Meguro Station) They are open from 4:00PM - 11:00/11:30 PM (Last Order is 10:45 PM). They are closed on Tuesdays, and the third Monday of every month.

There is also a smaller version of Tonki on the east side of Meguro Station (2nd floor, across from the taxi cabs), that is open for lunch. But, I've never had the opportunity to visit there, so my opinions of the main branch will have to suffice.

Yoroshiku,
Andy

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