April 23, 2023

Japan Michelin tour 2023 day 9: the best damn tonkatsu

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Even though I had another late night, I couldn't sleep in this morning as I needed to get up and go for an early lunch. This meal was, in fact, the reason I extended my stay in Japan and came to Tokyo after Fukuoka.

Tonkatsu Narikura (とんかつ成蔵)
has been on my radar for a few years now, ever since I heard about their special tonkatsu (とんかつ) millefeuille. But I was focusing more on fine dining establishments during subsequent visits to Tokyo, so this place was never on my hit list. Until now. I decided I needed to see what the hubbub was all about. After failing to book a slot for my short visit last month, I finally got myself a seat this morning, at 10:30 a.m. So I hauled my ass all the way to Minami-asagaya (南阿佐ヶ谷) for my brunch...

There is a choice of 6 different regular preparations on offer with different cuts of pork. They also offered, in addition to their "regular" stock of snow-aged (雪室熟成) Kogane pork (黄金豚) from Niigata Prefecture (新潟県), a daily special of Meishan pig (梅山豚) at a premium. This was available for each of the 6 preparations. There was also a braised pork belly (角煮), minced pork katsu (メンチかつ), plus additional items such as deep-fried shrimp (海老フライ) and katsu sando (かつサンド). Mr. Big(time) had already given me good advice on which choices to make.

Against my desire to try out everything possible, I opted for the 8-course menu with just two different choices of pork instead of three. The 8-course meals comes like this:

Pulled pork cracker (プルドポーククラッカー) - with carrots, chervil, and cherry tomato which dominated the flavors. I felt the cheese from the cracker was a little on the heavy side.

Homemade pickles (自家製ピクルスと本日のおひたし)

Salad (サラダ)

Koshihikari rice (京都丹後コシヒカリのご飯)

Tokyo-X tonjiru (TOKYO Xの豚汁) - made with Tokyo-X pork.

Meishan pork rib (梅山豚のバラかつ) - I absolutely love cuts of pork belly for the amount of tasty fat they bring to the table, but DAMN! This was ridiculous! This was soooo fatty, but soooo good!

The seasoning was on the light side. Tasted OK with the yuzukosho (柚子胡椒), but much better with the tonkatsu sauce as the acidity helps to cut the fat. Very, very satisfying.

Kogane pork millefeuille (黄金豚のミルフィーユかつ) - one look at this and I knew I had made the right choice. This was made by thinly-slicing pork loin and then layering them like a millefeuille.

This was so, so, so incredibly juicy... just look at how it glistens under the light. Merely biting down on a piece forces the liquid fat to ooze out onto the tongue. I was so, soooooo happy!

French toast (衣のフレンチトースト) - this was... just OK.

I debated about ordering an extra dish, as I kinda wanted to try the signature chatonbriand (シャ豚ブリアンかつ). I decided against it in the end, and just took a katsu sando home for my hosts.

I bought a yakisoba bread (焼きそばコッペパン) on my way home last night, and I figured I should have a snack between my brunch and my late dinner tonight.

I made plans to meet with the Dining Austrian but he was running late, so I strolled around the Imperial Palace. It was a really beautiful day, and I enjoyed my walk around the moat.

I also spent some time at Wadakura Fountain Park (和田倉噴水公園), just sitting under the trees, chilling out and watching the water fountains.

My friend did show up eventually, and we ended up at the Royal Bar inside the Palace Hotel Tokyo.

OF COURSE I ordered a girlie drink! This was Blooming, made with the hotel's own private sake Ichi-no-Ichi-no-Ichi (壱ノ壱ノ壱), yuzu liqueur, Lillet blanc, and a sakura liqueur. I was very, very floral and I really liked it.

I got back to the pad in the middle of my hosts having dinner. Chicken had cooked a meal for their wedding anniversary. I had already made dinner plans for myself, so I picked up my bag and headed out after a while...

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