Posted by: tonkatsudelights | January 13, 2008

Tonkatsu Galore! at Tonki

The second tonkatsu highlight is Tonkatsu Tonki in Meguro, Tokyo. This tonkatsu place somehow comes with a lot of recommendation. Lots of them come from foreigners, but the place is also popular with the locals. Some were even saying that this is the best tonkatsu in Japan.

Tonki has a different business model vs. Wako. While Wako is a big nationwide restaurant chain, Tonki is a family business with long history and a single outlet. The one in 1-1-2 Shimo-meguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo. If you come to the restaurant, you will see that family members are still very much involved in the running of the place. Managing the restaurant, deep-frying the cutlets, etc.

We failed to find the place on our first try. From JR Meguro station we took the west exit, then we went down the Meguro-dori to the left. However, we weren’t able to recognize the restaurant. Luckily, the second time we came back we checked the area map in Meguro station first and were able to find it in the map. To be more specific, after going out from the west exit, go down to the left until you pass by the big office building. Turn left when you find the big pachinko place (so big you can’t miss it), and you’ll find a couple of eating places there. This is how Tonki looks like:

Tonki has two floors, the first floor is for the open kitchen and the counter seats, the second floor is for table seating. Head to the second floor if you come in threes or fours or even bigger group.

Sitting down at the counter seat definitely is an interesting experience. You get to watch how the tonkatsu is made. This open kitchen is basically a production line with clear division of labor. One person is doing the exact same task at one station only in that production line. The downside? Definitely for the ladies who hate food smell on their hair and clothes. Because you definitely will get it if you sit down here. Not to mention the cigarette smell from the people who smoke inside the restaurant.

Considering the above in mind, and the fact that we just had dinner a couple of hours earlier, we decided to da bao the tonkatsu. Our hotel is only 5mins drive from Meguro station, so we reckoned the tonkatsu will still be warm and crispy by the time we eat it.

Nice wrapping for the take-out tonkatsu. It even had the expiry date stamped on it, which is basically the same-day expiry. Hehe…

That is how Tonki tonkatsu looks like. The bread crumbs are finer and the skin is more tasty than Wako or Tonkichi, or for that matter, any tonkatsu I ever taste! The meat however, is much smaller than the size of the cutlet skin (a lot of empty spaces inside the cutlet), and though it is also hire katsu, it is harder to chew vs. the hire katsu in Wako.

Net, we like the skin, but we don’t particularly like the meat inside. It is a bit disappointing, quite frankly. I think they can use better pork fillet to complement the tasty skin.

For the overall experience, I would put Wako tonkatsu above Tonki. However, if I happen to pass by Tokyo again, I would definitely spare some time for that unique taste of Tonki tonkatsu skin! Tonkatsu the likes of Wako is easier to find, whereas Tonki tonkatsu is unique and I hardly think we can find it elsewhere.

Is Tonki the best tonkatsu in Japan like what some people said? I wouldn’t give it a definite yes. It’s only a maybe. To some extent, I can see why some people would love this tonkatsu more than the others. It’s just not my personal favorite, that’s all.

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Responses

  1. […] like it. An alternative, if you feel really hungry, there’s a fried pork cutlet place called Tonki that prepares their meals in an open kitchen which is operating room clean – be sure to get a […]


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