Dear Food Diary:
Exploring the city can get tiring, yeah I know, how tough for me and my first world problems. But it’s been over a week and my old bones needed a break, so for today’s lunch, instead of hopping on the train, I walked to Akibaichi which is right in our neighborhood.
There’s 3 floors of restaurants to choose from but Susuya’s Tonkatsu Cyazuke looked different. I’ve had my share of tonkatsu (Japanese deep fried pork cutlet) at Donburiya & Katsu-hama back home, but not with a pile of cabbage on top? I went in to further taste-igate.
To my surprise, they had instructions of how to eat and tea to pour over rice, pork cutlet and pickles. How fun…
Lately, I’ve learned not to lunch with the office workers. Spare the crowd and eat late. I get more space and better service even sans Japanese. Which happens to be around 2pm or so (I hold up with a big breakfast).
The set comes with unlimited boiled cabbage and Japanese pickles, rice, miso soup and hot tea. I ordered the regular size for about $14 or you can supersize it for an extra $2.50.
They don’t serve the usual sweet tonkatsu sauce here. Instead, you choose from soy, spicy, or in my case ginger & garlic soy sauce.
The fried pork cutlet came sizzling on top of the ginger & garlic soy sauce. The bottom started absorbing the mixture while the top was still nice and crunchy. A good portion of the boiled cabbage piled on top.
Being a tonkatsu cyazuke virgin, I went for the Orthodox Style.
Piping hot, fluffy rice and a piece of this thick and juicy pork. Ohhh, heavens. Fried perfectly, extra crispy on top, nice crunch with a savory sauce on the bottom. The garlic and ginger make small appearances, easily missed.
I love pickles and was glad these were unlimited. The daikon had yuzu shavings, so light and citrusy. A little bit sweet and tart. The preserved vegetables go really well when there’s tea in my rice afterwards. The plum has a tang to it, gives the palate a rest in between bites.
So the orthodox way said to leave 3 pieces and ask for the Japanese tea. Before I could ask, the waitress had already read my mind.
I was pretty hesitant actually, I can imagine a soggy deep fried pork cutlet floating in tea. I prefer crispy!!!
But for the sake of eating like a local, I sacrificed one piece and one piece only.
It looked kind of pretty, as the tea started rising and the pretty colors in my bowl were mixed with little speckles of oil floating to the top.
Taste wise? Just as I suspected, the batter drenched soggy mess in tea just wasn’t my thing AT ALL. Though the tea added a nice balance. Not only did it help cut the oil, it also added a fresh grassy note, with a very faint bitter/sweet finish.
I ate my precious 2 remaining pieces crispy and then converted into somewhat of a Neatly Style.
We’ve noticed the lack of veggies in our average meal, but here, you can have a cabbage feast.
How cute is the keychain of their famous dish?! I was too cheap to buy it, that’s almost another set. Thought about the loyalty stamp card, but I need variety. Though StalkerBoy has been drooling over these photos (I sent him while he was working). Friendly torture *wink*.
This was a fun and tasty (fun-tasty?) lunch, it seemed heavy, but I didn’t walk out feeling like it. My bet is on all that hot tea I had.
Though, I did go back and have a pretty sweet nap.
P.S. Chubby’s Rating:
Right around the Akihabara Station