It’s no great secret diners the world over are in the grips of a Nippon craze with new openings monthly, from SugarFISH
in LA across the globe to Gin Sai
in Hong Kong, but not so widely-acknowledged is that tonkatsu is a Japanese tribute to Western food (yoshuku), in this case the humble wienerschnitzel! This much-loved comfort food of breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet is a well-traversed eating option in Tokyo but not commonly a dish that wins Michelin acclaim, until now that is, with a prestigious star landing on Katsuzen, a modest 13-seater tatami perched atop Ginza’s Barneys New York.
This accolade is not without good reason. Run by tonkatsu veteran Etsuo Nagai and family, the kitchen uses only pork fillet (hire) and pork loin (rosu) from free-range black Berkshire kurobuta pigs raised on the slopes of Mount Kirishima. And a far cry from your typical tonkatsu den, the meat here is cooked to order - the loin for 15 minutes and the lean cutlet for 20 - so to quieten that rumbling appetite in the interim, there’s miso soup made with sardine stock or dainty plates of seasonal veg. The hand-sifted panko bread crumbs make for a fluffy crispy coating on the organic pork, while the bitter crunch of impossibly fine-shredded cabbage is offset by their divine miso and garlic-infused house blend of Worcestershire sōsu. Dip in, dears!