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Jan 11, 2011 03:47 PM

Superlative tonkatsu ?

Hi all,

Doing some research on what others feel are superlative tonaktsus in the region.

Don't have to be Japanese restaurants, though.

My current favorites are:

The Clubhouse

Any others you think are worth trying ?


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  1. What makes a tonkatsu superlative, LR? Must say that it hasn't been one of my favourite dishes so far, but maybe because I've only encountered mediocre versions.

    2 Replies
    1. re: À la carte

      Subjective of course. To me, it should be:

      - light but crunchy panko crust
      - golden brown colored crust, with no visible oil
      - crust becomes part of pork (ie: does not separate from meat)
      - approx. 1/3 - 1/2" thick pork loin cut
      - pork should be tender and juicy, not dry and thin
      - meat shouldn't taste overly salted, but just enough to have some taste on its own, without tonkatsu sauce (or any other sauces)

      This is about what I would consider a good looking tonkatsu:

      1. re: LotusRapper

        Hmmm.... I think I can safely say that I've never had anything that looked so good. I'll have to check out your faves.

    2. i like the kimura's best. then prob Guu. i have seen the i-cafe one. is that the one with curry sauce that you like? is the food at clubhouse better? i had such horrible food there i have never returned.

      838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E1W2, CA

      12 Replies
      1. re: betterthanbourdain

        Haven't been to Kimura yet, they're on my list (guess will have to be a non-workday so I can afford the extra slow service time). Didn't know Guu had tonkatsu, can't recall seeing it on the menu.

        Yes I like the i-Cafe one (yes, one with curry, but I keep it on the side). The Clubhouse one is ok but more greasy than i-Cafe's. I pass on Clubhouse's curry (I'll bet it's Glico instant curry), cuz twice I came away with an awful MSG headache, so I'm not too keen on going back.

        1. re: LotusRapper

          Two places that served a good tonkatsu are now gone - Barefoot Kitchen and Yoshoku-ya. You can try Van-ya, Hi-Genki. I had a great katsudon at Juno on Davie - a great little Japanese-fusion joint.

          1. re: fmed

            I love Van-ya, but find their tonkatsu a bit dry even small sometimes, especially when compared to nearby-ish Kimura. Though I like that Van-ya offers karashi, the spicy mustard.

            Yikes, when did Yoshoku-ya close? The one on Denman?

            1. re: fmed

              I've been wanting to try Juno for a while just based on looks as I haven't found much on it online. Good to hear they have some promise.

              1. re: grayelf

                Highly recommended! Try their unifornia roll - a california roll topped with uni then blowtorched (aburi) and then topped with two kinds of caviar. Killer modern maki.

                Also their take on kakuni - where they use red wine in the braise.

                1. re: fmed

                  thanks. looking forward to trying Juno out soon. love kakuni too...

                    1. re: grayelf

                      Mini-down. It is too small to have a full on 'down.

                      1. re: fmed

                        i'm in. you had me at pork belly!

                        how is their sushi rice at Juno?
                        surprise how long it has been there yet i've never been.

                          1. re: fmed

                            I'll set up a mini-down for Feb, btb.

        2. I wouldn't call it superlative, but Dae-Ji's version is a good downtown option--a thin but massive cutlet well-breaded and served with a scoop of rice, corn and shredded cabbage salad. On Dunsmuir between Richards and Seymour.

          519 Dunsmuir St, Vancouver, BC V6B1Y4, CA

          2 Replies
          1. re: CoolerbytheLake

            Thanks CBTL. I think I've been there, very close to the Dunsmuir entrance of Granville SkyTrain station, right ? It was awhile back, can't say I remember the details. Might have to re-visit.

            1. re: LotusRapper

              If you're down in that area, pop your head into Superwok. It's kind of a weird oddity for downtown: mom and pop Taiwanese food. The food's hit and miss (mostly miss), but it just sticks out like a sore thumb and a point of curiosity for that area of downtown.

              They do this interesting dessert of taro/yam balls that have a similar consistency to those other sweet Chinese dessert dumplings (tong yuen), but without any sort of doughy shell or encasing. It's not part of the full menu, but advertised in Chinese via a sharpie-penned sign on the backwall. I haven't seen that at too many places. It's worth it even if only to say you've tried it.

          2. LotusRapper,

            I haven't tried it but I wonder if Tenhachi would fill the bill.

            I'm looking at a Shiso Tonkatsu Teishoku from there now and it looks the real deal.

            I'm going to go there and try it out.

            1 Reply
            1. re: repartee

              Shiso tonkatsu? Sounds promising. If it's good, I'd sub the usual tonakatsu "bulldog" sauce for something with umeboshi. Guu otokomae used to do that combo with shiso-chicken