February 10, 2015

Tokyo Michelin tour day 6: fatty pork chop

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Most of the gang from Hong Kong and Taipei went home today, so I found myself kinda alone in Tokyo for the last 2 days of the trip.  It just happened, though, that one of my cousins from New York is in town for a few months on secondment, so I took the opportunity to catch up with him over dinner.

I'm down to my last couple of meals in town, and I desperately needed to check out specific types of Japanese cuisine.  I haven't had tonkatsu (とんかつ) in Japan for... donkey years, it must be... so it was time to hit that.  Being that shallow tourist that I am, the first place I turned to was not Tabelog but the Michelin Guide.  Lo and behold, I found a place serving tonkatsu with a Michelin star!  And it was within walking distance from my hotel!  Katsuzen (かつぜん) it is, then...

It was interesting to see the restaurant offering full-fledged, multi-course set menus in addition to just the standard breaded and deep-fried stuff, and the two of us both decided to take on the kurobuta tonkatsu set (黒豚とんかつコース).  Kurobuta, of course, is the Japanese term for Berkshire pigs.

Appetizer (先付) - a piece of abalone, served with a sauce made with abalone liver, plus slices of green turnip, red carrot, orange carrot, and a spear of white asparagus.  The carrots were incredibly sweet, especially the red one.

Seasonal salad (季節のサラダ) - surprisingly with romanesco broccoli.

Selection from Tsukiji Market (築地市場からの一品) - spear squid (槍烏賊) cooked in tomato sauce, with mushroom, perilla (紫蘇) chiffonade, chervil, and slices of deep-fried garlic.  VERY yum.

Daily special (本日のおすすめ) - chunks of raw tuna (鮪) with avocado and wasabi (山葵), topped with strips of nori (のり) seaweed.

Kurobuta pork loin cutlet from Kyushu (九州産黒豚ロースかつ) - finally, the main event!  I generally choose the loin because I'm looking for that wonderful strip of fat down one side of the cut.
And sure enough, this was a beautiful-looking piece of meat!  I just love it when I apply enough pressure with my teeth, and start to squeeze the fat out and it oozes onto my tongue...  What a beautiful sensation!  The lean part of the pork was ever-so-slightly on the dry side, although it was still pretty tender.  It definitely needed the fat!

They've got the usual "tonkatsu sauce (とんかつソース)", but their house garlic and sesame sauce was seriously good!  A little sweet, a little sour, and beautiful, bold garlic flavors.  I couldn't stop drowning my pork in that sauce!

Rice (食事) - a nice bowl of rice, which came with homemade pickles like turnip.

Dessert (デザート) - besides the few pieces of fruit, the standout here was that giant scarlet runner bean (花豆).  It was HUGE!  Soooo delish and satisfying.  Can I have 10 more of these, please?

This was a delicious, satisfying, and very filling meal.  I dunno if the tonkatsu was star-worthy - I'm certainly not an expert on that - but it was certainly an enjoyable piece of fatty pork.  Every other dish was delicious, too.

Glad I was able to catch up with my cousin tonight, and I look forward to seeing him at his wedding later this year!

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