We saw some nice food photos outside this little nondescript door along the Sanjo-dori shopping arcade. The door opened to an atmospheric pebbled alley, and led to a gorgeous restaurant. We loved the strong air-conditioning, the impeccably friendly service but had no clue about how good the food really was. Until we saw what the next table was having. Oh my, everything looked good, even the generous mound of shredded cabbage!
Hubby chose a regular tonkatsu (he doesn't like Kurobuta, which they also offer). It was cooked just right, wonderfully tender without any strong porky taste. Very thoughtfully served on a wire platter above the plate, so the bottom part doesn't get soggy with trapped heat/condensation.
I went for a five-piece prawn set. Oh my, how well they were executed - breadcrumbs flaring out in angry, crisp formations. The prawns were very fresh and large - I ate even the tail shells. The most amazing thing about the food here is - you don't get that greasy satiated feeling even after downing such fried food. I almost felt like ordering more!
There are a couple of nice practices here too. Before your food arrives, you are given your own personal suribachi (mortar) and surikogi (pestle) along with some freshly roasted white sesame seeds. You grind these (releasing lovely aromatic fragrance) and add these to your sauce (I preferred to dip my item into the sauce first and then coat lightly with these). They serve huge pots of Katsukura special tonkatsu sauce, yuzu dressing and pickles. The shredded cabbage becomes a most delicious and refreshing salad when you pour yuzu dressing on it. They also top up more cabbage for you if you so desire.
I love a hearty miso soup that's chockful of ingredients. The one here does not disappoint. Even the tub of rice they provide with the set meal is very satisfying - I think I ate every grain!
I don't care how reputable Maisen and Tonki are...after tasting Katsukura, this gets my vote for best tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlet) and well, breaded fried anything in Japan! OMG this ranks as one of the top meals we've had on our trip and I guess it was extra nice because it was a sheer fluke discovery!
Various locations in Kyoto, Tokyo and Osaka