You know you’ve come to the right place when the wait time is 2 hours long.
Tonki in Meguro District in Tokyo does one thing well and thats making tonkatsu. Its stripped down and simple menu of only serving Tonkatsu makes their whole process of serving food efficient and at the same time makes it so simple that it highlights ever aspect of frying pork Japanese style. It’s a great place to experience that minimal Japanese culture of focusing on something simple and maximizing that item to its highest point (or its attempt to)
I ventured here after reading from my now favorite Tokyo travel book that showcases things that are very “Tokyo” and immediately wanted to come here. My experience was more so in the upper floor in a tatami room, but I highly recommend going downstairs and seeing the chiefs cook Tonkatsu in this open area kitchen.
The Meguro area itself feels like a very clean (dare I say boring?) looking place. But it also looks like a place where you can get some simple good food. Also side note they have a great little river that has one of the most beautiful cherry blossom views during the Spring.
Open 4pm through 11pm (Last order is 10:45pm) Closed Tuesday and Every Third Monday
Close to the JR Meguro West Station
If you don’t want to wait then I highly recommend doing reservations. I reserved with a group of 4 and you get your own little tatami room and really relax. However you miss out on all the action below so it’s a give and take.
The decor of this place is pretty awesome. Down below is a huge area where they cook and prepare the tonkatsu and if you are lucky enough to sit at the counter then you can see these cooks making tonkatsu
There are only 3 items on the menu:
Roast Tonkatsu (juicier) and Hire katsu (lighter) both at 1900 Yen and then kushi-katsu (katsu on a stick) at around 2100 Yen(?)
For the Roast and Tonkatsu you get unlimited rice and sliced cabbage and 2 servings of pork miso soup. Super good deal!
I got the Roast Tonkatsu cause I’m a fattie
Tonkatsu, sliced cabbage, rice, and miso soup. These four make up the basics of any tonkatsu restaurant in Japan. You need all of these. You need the katsu (obviously). You need the rice to eat the katsu. You then eat the miso soup to gulp it down. And finally you need to eat the nicely cool cut cabbage to cool refreshing taste in your mouth. All of this is the experience that I love about tonkatsu restaurants and this place does not disappoint. Also adding some hot mustard (karashi) is also a must 🙂
The tonkatsu was really surprising to me. Usually I would expect something really oily and heavy (particularly its a roast tonkatsu). But when I ate this tonkatsu its was super light yet so soft and juicy. It didn’t feel heavy and because of that I felt like I could it more of it. The outside crust was nicely crunchy and the sauce was very good.
I’ll be honest, it wasn’t the BEST tonkatsu I’ve had in my life so far but it was certainly the most simplest and “clean” tonkatsu I’ve had. Not sure if I would have been completely satisfied if I waited 2 hours for it, but reserving a spot and only waiting for 10 min or being in that bottom floor eatery would certainly makes it wonderful.
Shout out to “Design Travel Tokyo” book published in 9/1/2012 from D&DEPARTMENT PROJECT. They have a great book that showcases their attempt to capture what “Tokyo” is like from designers eyes. The showcase food, hotels, artists, and have great articles to get to know the city. It also has english translations right in their book! They also have other prefectures in Japan that they are writing on. Been a great read as I stay in Tokyo.