I can honestly say that I have never had good pork until I came to Japan. Although Japan is famous for its beef, the pork is also high quality, marbled, juicy, full of flavor, and oh so tender. There are many ways to eat pork in Japan, but one of the popular dishes is tonkatsu – a lightly breaded, fried pork cutlet. I’ve been wanting to try Butagumi in Nishi Azabu for a long time. It’s rated as one of the best places in Tokyo for tonkatsu, and I have to agree that it’s my favorite so far!
The pork is so delicately fried that the breading has an airiness and lightness to it. The pork is soft and tender with just enough chewiness. It’s just perfect!
Tonkatsu at Butagumi is served with unlimited rice, miso soup (that day, they served a homemade shijimi to replenish your body from the hot sun), cabbage, and Japanese pickles. They also have an assortment of sauces for your salad and tonkatsu – a thick Worcestershire-like sauce, spicy mustard, salt, and daikon dressing. I always start with salt as it mildly enhances the flavor of the pork without overwhelming it. Then I move to the heavier sauces – daikon dressing, spicy mustard, and lastly the Worcestershire sauce. This is my personal preference so try them all and eat however you like it!
The service here is spectacular, and they are used to foreigners so some of the staff speaks limited English and they have an English menu. You can select the type of pork that you’d like from their availability that day, which ranges from $16 to $90 for the set meal. I love the ambiance as well – it’s like dining in an old Japanese house.
Insider Tip: The English menu doesn’t include the cheaper lunch menu so if you’re on a budget, order either the lunch fillet (1800 yen) or the lunch roast (1650 yen). You don’t get to choose the type of pork, but even this one is mouthwatering. I always choose the roast to get the full experience of Japanese pork since it’s fattier and more tender, but if you’re worried about calories, go for the fillet! :)