Tonkatsu Wako, writtenとんかつ和幸 in Japanese, is a nationwide chain of good value ‘tonkatsu’, or breaded pork cutlet restaurants. There are over 140 outlets across the country, including several in Sapporo and Hiroshima and Nagoya. The vast majority, unsurprisingly are in greater Tokyo area.
I first went to a branch in Tokyo about five years ago with a Japanese friend. Considering the stylish minimalist décor and delicious food I was very surprised when I paid the bill. I honestly expected it would cost twice as much as it did.
I visited Tonkatsu Wako for lunch today, and as I have written in previous entries there are usually better value meal deals at lunchtime. I chose the yuri moriawase option, for 819 yen including tax. Moriawase means a selection of several items, and yuri means lily. To be honest I have no clue as to why it was called lily, as it didn’t feature any flowers. What it did feature though, was three different items covered and fried in bread crumbs. Minced pork with cabbage, melt in the mouth pork and finally squid.
The minced pork with cabbage, or menchi katsu as it is known in Japanese was the best, so soft and tender. The meal also included a mountain of shredded, raw cabbage, plain white rice, some shinko pickled vegetables and miso soup with small clams in it. The last item was particulary good, and somewhat unusual to have clams in miso soup. Best of all, you can get a free re-fill of rice, raw cabbage and miso soup if you so desire. A good Japanese word to know is okawari, meaning re-fill.
A free small pot of green tea is also included, and on the table you will find a few different bottles of sauce to add to the cutlets. The meat is top quality, but without the sauce the cutlets are a bit too dry to eat for most people. The restaurant was crowded when I went, which considering it was Monday lunchtime and it was snowing a bit outside is a good sign of quality and value I think.
There were two different lunch time sets for 819 yen and two for 977 yen including tax. They all come with tea, rice, cabbage and soup, just different kinds of cutlets, such as different cuts of pork and also shrimp. If you go in the evening you won’t see those deals, but you will find set meals ranging from 1050 yen to around 1,500 yen still pretty decent value considering the quality of food and volume. Take out also available on some items.
Introducing cheap yet tasty restaurants in Japan
31 Jan 2011