Pork Cutlet at Ponte Honke, Tokyo
- Debbie M Dec 23, 2006 12:35 AM
(I had posted this as a reply to my original query on Ponte Honke that I posted back in October, but it didn't bring the thread up to the top of the active list. I'm reposting it as a new topic, because someone else was interested in trying this restaurant.)
I was able to make it to Ponte Honke during my Tokyo visit earlier this month. Glad I did; it was quite good. It's about a 5-min. walk from JR Okachimachi station. Walk towards Matsuzakaya, make a left at Chuo dori, walk past the Matsuzakaya annex, and when you get to a cross street with a Cafe Veloce on the opposite corner, take a left there. Ponta Honke is near the corner; just look for their distinctive door and sign, as shown in the link above.
When you walk in the door there is a low wooden counter with four seats that sit in front of the open kitchen. Parties of two or more that came in headed for a staircase, so I assume there are tables on the second floor. Three people were working the small kitchen, but they were very quiet. The prominent sound was the low, steady simmer of food frying. There were about 6-8 items on the menu. Besides the pork cutlet, I could make out kaki fry and ebi fry; the rest were in kanji (which I can't read). Being it was the season for kaki, I was tempted, but it was the pork I had come to try, so that's what I ordered.
As I saw in the gourmet ranking special, the direct-from-the-farm pork is fried in fresh lard, at a low temperature, which leaves the breading golden and crisp, but tender, rather than dark and crunchy as with tonkatsu, and the meat is wonderfully moist and succulent; I actually understood the statement "the meat and the breading become one"! The cutlet was served with shredded cabbage, a small potato croquette (on the right side of the plate in the pictures below), rice, a nice akamiso soup and some hearty tsukemono, for, I think, 2300 yen. They had sauce for the cutlet, but I actually preferred it with a little dab of mustard. Everyone who sat at the counter had the cutlet, so it's definitely the speciality.
I'll go back again.
I used to live in Tokyo and our favorite for Tonkatsu was a place very close to Meguro station called Tonki Tonkatsu. I lived there from 1980 until 1987 and I was told that Tonki's had been there at that time for more than 15 years. It sounds similar to the place you described but larger in size. They have a long counter at the street level and upstarirs seating but I always enjoyed sitting at the counter so I could watch them cooking. My favorite was their Hire Katsu (pork tenderloin) which is a lot less fatty than the Rosu. From the Yamanote line platform at Meguro Station it is less than a 3 minute wazlk to Tonki's. The name is written in Hiragana so if you can read that script you can find it easily