Friday, August 9, 2013

133. Tokyo - The Tonkatsu is Tops at Maisen / とんかつまい泉 (Tokyo: Shibuya-ku, Jingumae / 東京都: 渋谷区, 神宮前)

One of the most anticipated meals in Tokyo was the tonkatsu from Tonkatsu Maisen (まい泉).  Many friends have urged me to try the crispy, deep fried pork cutlets from this restaurant, saying that it is one of the best that they have ever had.  I had yet to give my own verdict.

There are numerous cuts of pork used for Maisen's tonkatsu.  The selection ranges from the everyday filet (a little under 1,000 yen) to the more extraordinary cuts from black haired hogs (more than 6,000 yen).  The menu is extensive, and the pictures appear to show the same set of lunch specials from the first to the last page... but every choice varies.  While Ken ordered the traditional hire (ヒレ / filet) cut of tonkatsu, I ordered the rosu (ロース / pork loin), which meant that the tonkatsu came in medallions.

Each set came with the traditional accompaniment of shredded cabbage, which can be replenished without limit with a quick request to the server.  There was also miso soup, rice, and pickles.  We drizzled on the tonkatsu sauce over the pork before taking a big bite out of the pork.  It was a sort of fruity, caramel-like, vinegary Worcestershire... tangy, sweet, and thick like syrup.  Seeing it drip over the crevices of the deep fried panko breading was almost like watching thick and sweet maple syrup find its home in the ridges of a perfectly crispy deep fried chicken.

One bite, and I knew it the petite patty of pork was pure perfection.  The breading was lightly crisp but then crunchy in a soft, melt-in-your-mouth way at the same time.  Imagine taking a bite of super crunchy cotton candy and then letting the intertwined threads of sugar dissipate on your tongue... it's that feeling.

The pork itself really does not need any description.  It was juicy.  It was tender.  It was everything I wanted it to be and more.  It was worth the trek in the rain following all of the signs pointing to the restaurant off the main Omotesando Street (表参道).

The tonkatsu is tops at Maisen. I am literally drooling as I write this.  If there is anything as good as this breaded, deep fried pork cutlet in the Los Angeles area, please let this drooling blogger know immediately.  Until then, let's all get S.O.F.A.T.

とんかつまい泉 / Tonkatsu Maisen Aoyama Honten
東京 渋谷区 / Tokyo Metropolis, Shibuya Ward
神宮前 4-8-5 / Jingumae District, 4 Chome 8-5

View more images from my Flickr photo set for Maisen here.

ML - 20130626


  1. I still dream about the tonkatsu. It was seriously one of my favorite meals.

    1. for sure one of the best, if not THE best, tonkatsu I've ever had... SO crispy... SO, SO, lightly crisp