Tonkatsu, or breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet, is one of the numerous subgenres of Japan’s gloriously fragmented cuisine where chefs will labor over a lifetime perfecting one specialized dish. Katsuzen’s Etsuo Nagai has been a tonkatsu chef for roughly 50 years, and his restaurant is entirely family-run, with his wife, son and daughter all taking part in the preparation and service. Tonkatsu is often a comfort food, but as Katsuzen demonstrates, it can also be elevated to rarefied heights.
The entrance to Katsuzen is masked by a coarse-woven cotton noren; all you can see is a set of stone steps inlaid on top of pebble gravel, as if you were traversing a Japanese garden. Though the restaurant is house in Barneys New York, this is, we assure you, not a familiar site at the New York Barney’s. Inside is a small private dining room on the left, and an intimate 8 seat counter with a rough-edged wood counter. It’s simple, but highly elegant.
There are two main orders: kurobuta loin and kurobuta tenderloin. The loin, or rosu, is richer and fattier, while the tenderloin, or hire, is leaner and firmer. These black Berkshire kurobuta pigs are sourced from a free-range farm on the slopes of Mount Kirishima in Kyushu. There are also premium varieties from Iberico hogs or Okinawan Agu. The loins are each cooked to order, first being coated in a fluffy batter, then covered with house-made bread crumbs and then deep-fried. They come out crisp and golden, perfectly cooked and not oily in the slightest. In front of you on the counter are two types of sauces, which you should ladle promiscuously on your tonkatsu: an original tonkatsu sauce, made in house, and a miso-garlic blend of heavenly richness and great depth of flavor. Grated cabbage is served on the side, along rice, miso soup and pickles.
The superb quality ingredients, masterful execution and elegant atmosphere make this an absolutely wonderful place to have lunch while in Ginza.
Kojun Bldg. 4F
6-8-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku
+91 3 3289-8988 Tues-Fri, 11:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-10:30pm; Sat-Sun, 11:30am-9:30pm
- Etsuo Nagai , Chef
- Best Brunch
- Best Decor
- Best Value
- Private Dining Room
- Michelin Guide : ★ (2015) Review History...