We came to talking about Tonkatsu and a friend recommended Tonkatsu Suzuki in Shirokane. Shirokane is a little area that bemuses me. There are a number of interesting looking bars and restaurants. It is very off the beaten track and hard to get to, so I often wonder how they survive. Still they survive. I headed out in the evening just for a quick bite.
When you enter on the left is a small counter, on the right two tables on elevated tatami flooring. Not being one for sitting cross legged too long, I went to the nice wooden counter. You can see the place has not been renovated in many years. It has a very old fashioned feel to it. I noticed the wood panelling on the tatami side of the room. Japan has quite a nice aesthetic when it comes to wood. It is not entirely my favourite but I do appreciate it.
The menu is phenomenally simple Loin, Fillet, Shrimp, Bite size Fillet, Fillet and Naganegi skewers. There is also lunch and four drinks including bottled Sapporo. I went with the most standard Loin Tonkatsu. The master was in front of me. He looked exhausted and seemed to be holding himself up by resting his arms on the counter in front of him. He appeared to be well into his seventies perhaps even into his eighties. Still he got to work on the order. I was quite surprised when I saw him triple dip the Katsu in the flour and egg. The loin had also had a knife run over it. A little like the way sushi chefs do to squid. This seemed to ensure a nice thick crust to the Katsu. The oil was very dark looking. I am told that some of the older school tempura and tonkatsu places always keep a little of the old oil back, before adding fresh oil to keep the flavour. The little appetisers were brought out while he did this. A cabbage coleslaw and some Japanese pickles. They went down well with the Sapporo.
A few minutes later, the master pulled out the Katsu from the oil and placed it on a small round chopping board. He ran a large knife through it with a slow yet purposeful movement, glimpsed inside and served it on the plate.
I had my first bite just with salt and was very intrigued as the crust was not as bready as many place, though it was still quite thick and crisp. The result of the triple dipping in flour I should imagine. It was tasty and the meat was a nice thick chop, which these days is getting harder and harder to find as restaurants have taken to reducing size to reduce cost. The next bite was with Shichimi and Soy sauce. Followed by bites with sauce and mustard. I found the Soy sauce and Shichimi to be my favourite. The miso soup was quite notable not that it appeared special, but I believe this was a Aimiso mixture of two miso. In this instance a rice miso and a soy bean miso. Either that or they had put Kome Kooji into the soup. It had a nice round flavour and a hint of sweetness, but not the type that sugar brings. Diner with a beer 2500 Yen quite satisfying. It did not surpass Butagumi in Nishi Azabu. However it did have a nice nostalgic Showa era feel to it. I could see this place ending up on Kodoku Gurume one day.