Wrong Order Katsu at Maisen


Tonkatsu, not to be mistaken for TonkOtsu is breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet. This is exactly what I wanted, but not what I ordered. This was entirely my fault, and I saw something that looked a bit cheaper, and looked like Tonkatsu, so what I really got was Menchi Katsu. Menchi Katsu is a breaded and deep-fried ground meat usually beef or pork or both. This was just my first pass at Tonkatsu and definitely will rectify. The Menchi was great though.


My research pointed to Maisen for some of the best Tonkatsu in Tokyo. This restaurant is big with a parking lot in the front (Rare for Tokyo). Random thing – they also have Q tips in the bathroom which was odd. As with all the places I’ve been to in Tokyo, there’s a dining area with tables and a bar area. I went to the bar area and the menu is in Japanese so for this picture book. I ordered something that looked like Tonkatsu and that was relatively inexpensive. Wrong! Idiot I am. I just ordered Menchi Katsu and it was a few bucks cheaper than Tonkatsu.


The Menchi Katsu meal came with side dishes, rice, miso soup, and orange sherbet. Once I ordered, the waitress brought me tea and a hot towel. A few minutes later my food was ready. This meal came on a tray with all the sides. The rice was perfectly cooked (Big pet peeve of mine is poorly cooked rice), the vegetables were bright and flavorful and miso soup was so good. This miso soup was not only bursting with flavor (Not overly salty), but packed with meat, radishes, carrots, and more. It was 100x better than any miso soup I’ve ever had.

Now for the katsu, as I’ve said, I messed up my order, but the food was still really good. The Menchi Katsu tasted like a meaty almost donburi croquette (Because of the egg binding agent), it was creamy and slightly meaty. Not the normal juicy cut of pork or chicken. What’s so awesome about Tonkatsu in Japan is the batter, it’s so light and crispy, it just doesn’t make sense. I know they use a healthy dose of panko and the wrong mixture of ingredients might make Menchi Katsu completely fall apart, but how do they do it?! When you have American Fried Chicken you can taste a thick breading that creates a thick shell around the food. Tonkatsu batter maintains the same moisture in the meat, but no where near as thick and crumbles in your mouth and not crack like most fried foods.

Source: Maisen

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