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Butagumi: Haute cuisine tonkatsu

BaronDestructo Nov 14, 2008 03:31 PM

Serving different varieties of pork including premium Spanish Iberico pork

Anyone been? Anyone interesting in going?


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  1. l
    lost squirrel RE: BaronDestructo Nov 16, 2008 06:33 PM

    I read about this place quite awhile ago and have been interested ever since, but haven't managed to make the plans yet.

    I hope to make it there someday soon.

    3 Replies
    1. re: lost squirrel
      BaronDestructo RE: lost squirrel Jul 28, 2009 12:27 PM

      Better late than never. I did end up going. My report:

      "I had lunch at Butagumi, a restaurant that specializes in tonkatsu – deep fried pork (by the way, kudos to my cab driver who ended up negotiating an impossibly narrow side street to get me there). The menu consists of some 20 different varieties of pork, each with its own little write-up. For instance, there’s the Nakijin-Agoo-buta from Okinawa that was at one time an endangered species, the Eishow-ton fromm Kanagawa in central Japan whose ancestry can be traced back to China and is 80% sweet fat, and, of course, the Bimei-ton which is described as light-tasting. But I was there for the heavy hitter, Spain’s famed Iberico pork. Like Kobe beef, the meat practically melted in my mouth. Of course, like Kobe beef, the meat was incredibly well-marbled."

      By the way, they have an English menu.

      1. re: BaronDestructo
        lost squirrel RE: BaronDestructo Jul 28, 2009 08:34 PM

        Thanks Baron, I still haven't made it myself.

        Maybe sometime this summer I'll manage. Do you recommend the Iberico?

        1. re: lost squirrel
          BaronDestructo RE: lost squirrel Jul 28, 2009 09:01 PM

          Yes, the Iberico was excellent. If I dig up the menu, I'll post it.

    2. u
      Uncle Yabai RE: BaronDestructo Jul 29, 2009 06:22 AM

      Well, after reading about this restaurant in a number of places, decided to go for dinner. It was very good. Basically takes the humble tonkatsu and all the trimmings (sauce, mustard, cabbage, soup, rice) and elevates them to the next level of craft food. We had the sampler set, which comes with five kinds of tonkatsu. Each of the pieces was noticeably different, although if you were to ask me which one I would order as a full meal, I really couldn't tell you.

      More expensive that the regular places, but at the price point of a kurobuta dinner at Maisen, so reasonable for the quality and quantity. Service was very good, and seems to be a family-run place, which is a positive.

      I still think Tonki is the baseline by which all other tonkatsu needs to be evaluated, and it is hard to tell (very different in every way), but superior to both Hirata Bokujo and Maisen.

      22 Replies
      1. re: Uncle Yabai
        BaronDestructo RE: Uncle Yabai Jul 29, 2009 07:17 AM

        I also tried Maisen while I was strolling through Shibuya and enjoyed it as well, although I preferred Butagmi (looking back, I think the homier outside also added to my overall enjoyment although I did take advantage of Maisen's more flexible hours to make a return visit there). Didn't try Tonki but will certainly put it on my "To Get To" list for this winter's trip. Along with the 45 other restaurants I've narrowed it down to from my original 96.

        1. re: Uncle Yabai
          baroo RE: Uncle Yabai Jul 30, 2009 04:02 AM

          Does anyone have thoughts on Kimukatsu?
          I liked it the couple times I've been. If you're going to talk about fancy tonkatsu, their mille-feuille katsu fully qualifies. They take thinly layered pork, sandwich some savory filling in it (garlic, pepper, yuzu kosho, cheese...), and there's your tonkatsu.

          1. re: baroo
            BaronDestructo RE: baroo Jul 30, 2009 07:18 AM

            Arrrgh! You guys are killing me! I'm only in town for two weeks this winter and am struggling to trim down my list of places to eat. But ever time I eliminate one restaurant, you guys come up with two more intriguing finds. The least you could do is help me eat my way through them all when I get there.

            1. re: baroo
              lost squirrel RE: baroo Jul 30, 2009 09:52 PM

              waah waah weeh wooh, looks nice!


              1. re: baroo
                kamiosaki RE: baroo Aug 8, 2009 03:21 PM

                It was OK the couple times I tried it. Don't know which branch you are talking about but the one in Ebisu sells their katsu as sandwiches and bentos out of a little window next to the entrance. Someone who wants just a taste could just pick up the sandoichi for 600 yen or so.

                1. re: baroo
                  prasantrin RE: baroo Aug 9, 2009 01:51 PM

                  I like Kimukatsu, but I see it as a different animal from tonkatsu.

                  Kimukatsu's katsudon really rocks! But I think it's only available at lunch (at least it was the last time I was there--a couple of years ago).

                  1. re: prasantrin
                    Ninisix RE: prasantrin Aug 10, 2009 12:47 AM

                    The post on "Butagumi" is very tempting... If they serve it with "akamiso shiru", I will defenitely go, I like the matching of taste. Perhaps this month, I will try it and come back on the post

                    1. re: Ninisix
                      Uncle Yabai RE: Ninisix Aug 10, 2009 07:05 AM

                      They do, actually. Akamiso shiru is what is served.

                      1. re: Uncle Yabai
                        Ninisix RE: Uncle Yabai Aug 15, 2009 01:28 AM

                        Uncle Yabai, thank-you. I went there for lunch and it was amazing to eat 5 piece of Tonkatsu and want for some more, even in full summer.
                        The staff, in fact the "chef" explanation, with the atmosphere of the place is very charming. The menu was served with "aka miso", rice, sliced cabbage with fruits ponsu sauce and the 3 pieces of pork loin including the "iberico" and 2 pieces of filet. An extreme of "tonkatsu" and the definition of enjoyment of it are joined in this place.

                        1. re: Ninisix
                          Ninisix RE: Ninisix Aug 27, 2011 05:23 PM

                          Second time. Looking at the list of ALL the selection, it feels like your choice should not be taken lightly !! Finally, I choose on the list, the 'triple cm' loan Okinawan pork : fleshy, fatty but non persistant meat, and covered with a sweet light crust.   
                          Just after i have found that review on the net that explain it better :
                          On the best clan (= 'butagumi' means literally 'pig clan'), what was your best one ? I think next time I will try the Hungarian pork.   

                          1. re: Ninisix
                            davew666 RE: Ninisix Aug 28, 2011 12:36 AM

                            I've only been twice, but I can't imagine one being better than the Iberico

                2. re: Uncle Yabai
                  Uncle Yabai RE: Uncle Yabai Aug 26, 2009 05:32 AM

                  Well, figured it was time for another round. This time, I was basically blown away. Had Eishoo-ton from Kanagawa, which was 80% fat, but not chewy at all, almost like slurping very tasty noodles. But the real winner was an Iberico ham menchikatsu. This thing was out of this world. Who could have thought that a ground up deep-fried pork burger patty could taste so heavenly?

                  1. re: Uncle Yabai
                    exilekiss RE: Uncle Yabai Aug 26, 2009 08:54 AM

                    Hi Uncle Yabai,

                    Kuyashii~! (^_^) Thanks for the great report back. I'm so jealous that I can't be there right now trying it. Sound delicious. :) So would you say ichiban wa Butagumi, niban wa Tonki, sanban wa Maisen? Thanks.

                    1. re: exilekiss
                      Uncle Yabai RE: exilekiss Aug 26, 2009 09:25 AM

                      I'd say so, but the issue is that Butagumi is a different animal from the other two. Its kind of comparing the 11 Madison Park hot dog cart to the usual offerings...

                    2. re: Uncle Yabai
                      lost squirrel RE: Uncle Yabai Aug 26, 2009 10:03 PM

                      Where was my phone call? I'm there next time for sure.

                      1. re: lost squirrel
                        Uncle Yabai RE: lost squirrel Aug 27, 2009 03:40 AM

                        Ar! Sorry about that, lah. Shall we set up a date? Let's bring Asomaniac along, he's been MIA too long. On Tuesday went to the food truck around 1:00 PM, but the damn chicken dude was already out. But the Banh Mi dude still had sandos. Go figure.

                        1. re: Uncle Yabai
                          Robb S RE: Uncle Yabai Aug 27, 2009 10:06 AM

                          What? Banh Mi dude? Where, please?

                          1. re: Robb S
                            lost squirrel RE: Robb S Aug 27, 2009 05:13 PM

                            Near our respective offices, there are a few lunch trucks that show up.
                            One is the Chiyoda Platform Village in Kanda and the other is behind the Sankei Building (?) in Otemachi.

                            On Tuesdays in Otemachi, you can get pretty good rotisserie chicken with herbed rice or roasted potatoes or both. Also on Tuesday is a truck called Elephant Box, which has 400yen bahn mi sandos along with pho and other thai specialties. The 'vietnam sandwiches' are pretty good for 400yen, although a little light on ingredients.

                            EDIT:: Elephant Box is at the Forum neo-stall village on Thursdays as well:

                            1. re: lost squirrel
                              Robb S RE: lost squirrel Aug 28, 2009 02:05 AM

                              Ah, thanks. I guess I'm not in Otemachi very often at lunchtime....

                      2. re: Uncle Yabai
                        Uncle Yabai RE: Uncle Yabai Feb 17, 2010 03:24 AM

                        Well, time for another round at the Butagumi. The tencho was his usual gobusatashite orimasu, but they had the Iberico menchikatsu. If I was to have a coronary, make it such it is after eating that, at least die happy.

                        1. re: Uncle Yabai
                          davew666 RE: Uncle Yabai Feb 17, 2010 09:02 AM

                          when i think about japan, a lot of the time I'm thinking about when I ate at Butagumi. Hopefully next time I go they will have some Iberico

                          1. re: davew666
                            davew666 RE: davew666 Feb 16, 2011 10:55 PM

                            just visited again, and they had Iberico on the menu. Wow. Best pork I have ever tasted.

                    3. c
                      CPMK RE: BaronDestructo Aug 26, 2009 09:28 AM

                      Is a reservation 2-3 days in advance is enough?
                      Or have to be long before that?

                      BTW, here are Kimukatsu pictures.
                      What I like about them is that they are very juicyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. Yum =D~~~

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: CPMK
                        Uncle Yabai RE: CPMK Aug 27, 2009 03:42 AM

                        I usually just show up, place fills up, but have yet to wait for more than a few minutes.

                        1. re: Uncle Yabai
                          CPMK RE: Uncle Yabai Aug 27, 2009 09:34 AM

                          Thanks, Yabai jisan.
                          Will go there in Late Sept.
                          Can not wait. ( >_< )

                          1. re: CPMK
                            lost squirrel RE: CPMK Aug 27, 2009 05:14 PM

                            Butagumi was just mentioned in this WSJ article yesterday:

                            1. re: lost squirrel
                              theskyflyer RE: lost squirrel Nov 17, 2010 04:46 PM

                              I had been looking forward to sampling Butagumi and finally went last night. I was slightly disappointed that the Iberico one was so fatty. It's very good, but maybe I shold'e selected a more lean meat. Out of the 20 or so types of pork they list on the menu, only a handful was available. We also tried the Hungarian meat (not bad) and one Japanese (sorry forgot the name). The Japanese one is the least expensive, most lean and tastes the best for me.

                      2. Kavey RE: BaronDestructo Aug 5, 2012 03:27 AM

                        Butagumi sounds fantastic, absolutely love the idea of a menu with such a wide-ranging selection of pork breeds and cuts.

                        Can anyone give me any indication of prices, either for a la carte or for any sets available.

                        Would like to add this to my list but need to get a better handle on pricing to work it into my total budget.

                        Thank you!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Kavey
                          Kavey RE: Kavey Aug 5, 2012 03:35 AM

                          Actually, I've found a lot of pricing information in this review: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fg20...

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