Wednesday, September 10, 2008
One of my favourite dishes to eat out in Japan is tonkatsu. It's a cutlet of pork, breaded with large breadcrumbs called panko, then deep fried and served with mountains of shaved cabbage and a thick sauce reminiscent of HP sauce.
There are all sorts of variations on tonkatsu - you can get it with hire or rosu cuts; tenderloin and loin, respectively; with a variety of fillings, such as cheese or garlic; and a variety of toppings, such as curry sauce or shredded leek. It's not exactly a healthy dish, and since I don't like to mess around deep-frying, it's not something I make at home. Last Sunday, however, Peter and I were on our way to the Japan Beer Fest in Yokohama, and wanted something greasy and filling to coat our stomachs before spending the afternoon tasting a variety of craft beers from around Japan.
We stopped at Yokohama station and went into Yokohama Mores, which is undergoing a dramatic renovation. The restaurant floor was already finished, but the shrouded and scaffolded building kept the crowds at bay, and we were able to walk right into a restaurant at lunchtime on a Sunday. Miracle! We chose Genkatsu, a place that specializes in tonkatsu made with thin sheets of pork folded over and stuffed with a variety of flavourings. I tried the garlic; and Peter chose black pepper, after a brief moment's hesitation over their cheese version.
Not exactly cheap at 2100 yen each; the lunch set does come with a choice of red or white miso soup; pickles; and all-you-can-eat cabbage and rice. We spent some time filling up on paper-thin shreds of cabbage drenched in ponzu dressing- a combination I heartily endorse. Ponzu itself is quite flavourful, and hardly needs any oil to mellow the flavour, as it's made from citrus and soy. Considering the rich nature of the main dish, it's important to fill up on something like this first.
The tonkatsu itself was delicious; rich and crispy without being excessively greasy. It was my first time trying a layered-pork version, and I'm not sure it was worth the price differential - regular tonkatsu can usually be found for around 1400 yen a person for a similar set. I probably won't be rushing back to this location any time soon. We did have a lovely view of the station from the 8th floor, however.