Dining Review: Gyukatsu Ichi Ni San Tonkatsu – Tokyo, Japan
Our first meal in Japan! Unlike all of our other trips, I did not have set plans each day for food. The reasons included 1) the inability to make reservations abroad or without Japanese 2) reservation times are strict and being late or early is not acceptable – I even read that a few minutes hate for a reservations constitutes giving it up. Since I did not know how our days would fall, I did not want to lock us into set times for meals with the risk of being late. Instead, I vetted restaurants in various neighborhoods we would be visiting so that we had options when we were traveling around with the goal of hitting each different cuisine at least once on the trip. Unfortunately, many of my stared spots were closed on Sundays so the options were a but more limited than I was expecting but Gyukatsu Ichi Ni San was our winner. We walked up to the restaurant and noticed a short line outside of the building but quickly corrected ourselves that the line continued across the street. We got in line while I continued to look up other options without much luck.
Our line inched along and before we knew it, and hour and a half went by before we were seated in the 10 person restaurant for tonkatsu – beef cutlets. Since our orders were placed while we were in line, our food was ready for us shortly after sitting down. Ordering was pretty standard where you selected how much beef you wanted – small (one cutlet or 130 g), medium (one and a half cutlets or 195 g) or large (two cutlets or 260 g). We were given cold tea which was a staple at many restaurants we visited on this trip. And then our platters arrived! At this tonkatsu spot, there are hot plates at each setting to finish cooking the beef to your liking. The platter also included dipping sauces, rice, miso, potato salad, and fresh cabbage.
The first bite of beef cutlet validated every minute we were in line. I did read that the great spots have lines and if you are willing to wait, you will be rewarded. The beef cutlet was insanely juicy and flavorful – we were unsure how they even accomplished this beef consistency with maintaining a crispy exterior. The accompaniments on the platter were perfect to round out the meal. What an amazing way to start our trip with such a delicious meal! We talked about this meal for the rest of the trip – definitely add this spot to your Tokyo dining list.