For a small piece of heaven, visit Tonki in the Meguro district of Tokyo and experience their tonkatsu.
Tonkatsu, the only food served at Tonki, is simply a piece of pork breaded with panko breadcrumbs and deep fried. But really it is much more. The pork is more succulent than what you’ll ever find in the West and to say it is deep fried doesn’t really do it justice. No oily KFC-like fried food here. Tonki’s tonkatsu is fried to a crisp perfection.
Like most tonkatsu shops, Tonki serves their tonkatsu with shredded cabbage, rice, and miso soup and provides a special tonkatsu sauce and hot mustard as condiments. But Tonki does it better than most.
When you enter the shop there’s a U-shaped counter which is where I usually prefer to sit. From there I can watch the cooks prepare my meal, listen in on conversations to either side of me or strike up a conversation with my neighbor. If you arrive before 6pm there’s a good chance you’ll find a seat immediately. Any later and you’ll have to wait. There is a second seating area upstairs, but from that vantage point you miss all the action. If you have the time, I highly recommending waiting for a seat at the counter.
When entering Tonki you’re immediately greeted and asked how many are in your party and what you’d like to eat. Fortunately, there are only two things on the menu: hirekatsu (“he-ray-ka-tsu”- pork filet) and rosukatsu (“row-su-ka-tsu”- pork tenderloin). For my money, the hiramatsu is the winner as it’s a bit more succulent, but either is under $20. With that you get rice, an endless mound of shredded cabbage, and miso soup. At an additional cost Beer (“Be-ru”) is the drink of choice but soft drinks are also available.
Take the Yamanote line to Meguro Station and exit the station using the west exit (see map above). Bear left outside the station, cross the street and head to the right past a row of buildings to the first street on your left. Tonki is about 50 feet up the street on your left.