Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Katsuzen in Ginza: Kurobota tonkatsu with a Michelin star in Tokyo. The best tonkatsu in Tokyo, according to the Michelin Guide 2016.





Last Sunday in Tokyo, living a #Travelife, someone said: "I'm taking you to the only Michelin-starred tonkatsu restaurant in Japan."

He knows I love tonkatsu so that certainly got my attention.

And with glee I dressed up for the cold weather and we drove to Ginza for lunch at Katsuzen, the only Michelin-starred tonkatsu restaurant in the 2016 Michelin Guide for Tokyo.

Scroll down to read more about the best tonkatsu in Tokyo...




A TONKATSU RESTAURANT WITH STYLE

Katsuzen is located in the same building as Barney's, along with a lot of other stylish or famous Tokyo restaurants.

However Katsuzen itself is basically a counter restaurant with about eight seats. For a tonkatsu restaurant, it's contemporary and rather trendy in feel, with a big glass bucket of sparkling water and champagne right on the counter, and a sign in Japanese offering fresh lemon soda.

You usually never see such things at a tonkatsu restaurant.



THE BEST TONKATSU IN TOKYO,
ACCORDING TO THE MICHELIN GUIDE

We had to wait a bit to get a seat, and while waiting we were asked to order in advance.

Typically, we went for the priciest thing on the menu, assuming this would also be the best thing to have.



The most expensive set for lunch at Katsuzen was a kurobuta roast tonkatsu set for about $45. This isn't bad by international standards but it certainly is on the pricey side for tonkatsu in Japan.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS FOR TONKATSU

I'm very finicky about my tonkatsu and I certainly had high expectations for this Michelin-starred restaurant in Ginza.

Everything looked good in terms of visuals and they certainly get high marks for presentation, and almost everyone will find Katsuzen delicious. However, for me, the pork just wasn't good enough




The kurobuta pork cut served at Katsuzen was actually tough for high-end pork, as the fat was too unevenly distributed. I'm including a photo here so you see what I mean.

So one side with some fat on it was way too fatty, while the other side of the pork which was lean was almost dry and tough.



THE BEST TONKATSU IN TOKYO,
ACCORDING TO ME

It was okay, but I've certainly had better. I usually point my friends in the direction of a tonkatsu restaurant in Shinjuku which serves the best kurobuta tonkatsu, as far as I'm concerned.

My other beef with Katsuzen -- excuse the pun -- is the fact that they don't fry their tonkatsu well enough. Again, almost everyone will find this tonkatsu pretty okay, but if I consider that Katsuzen has a Michelin star and then compare it against the really good but not as famous places in Tokyo, their frying technique didn't hold up either.

STYLE AND A REALLY GOOD 
GARLIC SAUCE



The only really good thing about Katsuzen, aside from the stylish atmosphere, is the fact that they had a really delicious garlic sauce to go with the tonkatsu.

I've had all kinds of sauces with tonkatsu at different restaurants all over Japan, but I've never had a creamy garlic sauce ever. This was very good and perhaps I would go back for this fact alone.


At the Ice Hotel last week,
living a #Travelife...

ALL FOREIGNERS AT KATSUZEN IN TOKYO

Interestingly, the restaurant was full only of foreigners.

There were people from Hong Kong eating when we came in, and then another group of Hong Kong tourists came in just as we were leaving. This is the same with so many Michelin-starred restaurants in Tokyo and Osaka over the past three years since tourism exploded.

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#Travelife with us to Hokkaido this 2016.
Email travelife@travelife.biz
for more details.

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TOURISTS AND 
THE MICHELIN-STARRED RESTAURANTS

"What would all these Michelin-starred restaurants do without the tourists?" I asked my companion.

All these restaurants have become so expensive since they became famous, and we residents dislike the fact that they've also become harder to book. Fortunately there are so many good restaurants in Tokyo, other than what's written in the Michelin Guide or the S. Pellegrino, although I do like many of the ones on these lists and guides as well.

But, yes, no Japanese at all eating at Katsuzen last Sunday, for just another delicious lunch in my never-ending #Travelife. 

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