Thursday, February 21, 2013

Memories of Genkatsu

A lunch at Genkatsu
Thursday February 21, 10:12 p.m.

Sunday's tonkatsu dinner at Tako Sushi in North York brought back some memories of being a foodie in Tokyo. And one of my great memories is of a tonkatsu restaurant in Ginza called Genkatsu.(ゲンカツ

There is a show on The Food Network here in Canada called "You Gotta Here". Well, if the host, John Catucci, were ever to make it out to The Big Sushi for a special show, I would heartily recommend him to go there. Mind you, I'm not sure if the chefs would be too welcoming, though. Some of these guys in Japan can be a bit secretive about their techniques. But then again, Genkatsu is not secret at all about one technique: how they slice up the pork.

Genkatsu's claim to fame is that they take this luscious pork and slice the slab that would become a lunch or dinner entree into 25 thin slices, and then do all the egging and breading and deep-frying as if it were still one huge chunk. What gets served then has an interesting mouth feel with the juices coming out into your mouth as you break through the crispy panko coating into the layered meat.

Salty dipping sauce
Being located just a few metres away from the main Ginza intersection, it's not inexpensive like going to McDonalds or the student bento places, but it's worth every yen; I think the lunch is still going for about 1,200 yen....not bad at all for a good filling lunch in one of the most expensive neighbourhoods on the planet. The lunch comes with the usual salad and bottomless rice and tea...and of course, the shredded cabbage. Any decent tonkatsu restaurant mates that deep-fried cutlet with endless cabbage. No ifs, ands or buts on that. And besides, fiber is good. The other wonderful thing about Genkatsu is that you don't only need to have the Bulldog or Worcestershire sauce to dip the meat into. I received a bowl of salty dipping sauce....kinda like a really intense bowl of consomme for lunch, but dinner can also have a tiny tray filled with different types of salt in lieu of sauce.

And the dinners have one great entree option for neophytes. You can opt for the Assorted Platter in which you can get a plate of different types of tonkatsu with the layers stuffed with cheese or garlic or shiso. Did I mention you can get bottomless bowls of rice?

Tonkatsu restaurants are plentiful all over Tokyo, but Genkatsu and its sister restaurant, Kimukatsu, are definitely two of a kind.