Hirata Bokujo (平田牧場), Futako-Tamagawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
In Setagaya ward, at the Futako-Tamagawa station, there’s a Takashimaya department store center that house many good eateries, and also has a good depachika to shop for takeout food. The eating options inside the complex, though a little clean and mall-like, include places like an outlet of dom Pierre (for curry), Konaya (for curry udon), Ten-Ichi (for tempura), and a several other well regarded shops (see the English site for the Takashimaya complex: http://www.tamagawa-sc.com/english/index.html ). These were my last days in Japan, and I realized I didn’t have any tonkatsu yet, and while we were doing some errands around the Takashimaya complex, we took the opportunity to eat at Hirata Bokujo (or shortened to Hiraboku) as it was recommended to us by a local. Judging from the website, Hiraboku is all about sourcing pork. They run a pig farm; they slaughter and process pork; they use the pork in a number of products they sell besides straight pork, like various sausages, salames, and such. And they also have a few restaurants that feature their pork. This seems like a good way to keep costs down and to put out a good product. (The price difference between Hiraboku and the other tonkatsu shop on the restaurant level in the south building, for instance, was pretty dramatic.) The lunch menu is pretty easy to navigate. There’s hirekatsu (fillet) and rosukatsu (roast), and besides that, there’s a menchi-katsu (fried ground pork patty), and their special katsu of rolled slices of pork with shiso. There are several appetizers to choose from, but the teishoku (combinations) were priced between 1000-1400 yen with soup, rice, all the cabbage you can eat, and pickles.
There are two types of sauces offered at the tables. One is their regular tonkatsu sauce, and the other is a tonkatsu sauce spiked with garlic and some spices. Once the dishes come out, they also supply a nice carafe of their sesame dressing for the cabbage. I ordered the rosu-katsu and my dining companion ordered their special lunch featuring their menchi-katsu and the special rolled pork katsu. In a little goma-suri (sesame grinding) bowl in which you grind the sesame seeds, you pour the sauce directly in there. I went straight for the souped up sauce. It was nice, tangy, and with a good kick and sweetness from the garlic. For me, it seems difficult to mess up tonkatsu (it’s always been one of my favorite foods), and this one was very good and you could tell these were prime ingredients and the cooking was done to exact specifications. But if I were to order again, I think I would go for the special lunch featuring the menchi-katsu and the shiso-maki pork. From the few bites I had of those, they stole the show. The menchi-katsu was so tender, almost (dare I say) like Spam, but the ground pork with enough fat in the mix made for a juicy, flavorful patty. The shiso-maki was another brilliant hit. Perfectly fried rolls of pork with shiso leaf to add a nice pungent flavor and aroma. The regular sauce was a better match with these. I had about 3 helpings of cabbage, and two bowls of rice and finished up. I’ll certainly be back.
This is a great find and was one of my top three meals during my 10 day trip to Japan. The shiso-maki pork was very unique and definitely brilliant. I enjoyed the whole process of grinding the sesame seeds and making your own sauce. The salad dressing was excellent, so we bought several bottles to take home with us. Thanks for the post!
Wow, that sounds like it's definitely worth a try. I see they also have a branch in the Coredo Building in Nihonbashi, which may be a bit more convenient.
By the way, Hiraboku is also the pork source for the Korean makkoli bar I recommended awhile back, and it was indeed fantastic pork: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/320891 .