Kimu Katsu

Living in Ebisu there is an embarassment of riches in restaurants. One of the most popular is Kimu Katsu. On any given night there is a long line of people waiting outside to get a table. On my way home, I’m always asked by people on the street how to get there. My Japanese is quite poor, but when I hear, “Kimu Katsu”, I just smile and walk them to the restaurant. T and I were always intrigued but were unwilling to wait. After all, Tokyo is full of fabulous restaurants with no wait.

So whenever we walk past the restaurant and there is no one waiting, we walk in and dig in. This has happened exactly three times in the last two years. So what are people waiting in line for?

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Their specialty is tonkatsu, deep-fried breaded pork. And their unique technique, which is to tenderize the meat before breading it, has produced the best tonkatsu I’ve tasted so far. The meat is juicy, but not oily. And the breading comes in six different flavorings. I like the garlic/pepper, but I also recommend the plum/leek. The 1,900 yen set comes with rice cooked to perfection, an unlimited supply of shredded cabbage (customarily eaten with tonkatsu) and a choice of red or white miso soup, also very good.

What’s on the Menu? the best tonkatsu in town

Ambiance Perfectly lit with lots of warm wood and a repeating pattern of small rectangles in the form of prints and small mirrors on the walls. The seating is close to everyone. Even the booths are shared by two uncomfortably adjacent tables. The counter is your best bet for an intimate date.

Service They are busy busy busy, but seem to still be attentive enough.

Clientele The post-wedding crowd on the weekends, all dressed up and cheery. The semi-local hipsters during the week are mixed with first time visitors who have heard about the restaurant.

I don’t think anyone should wait 40 minutes for a seat at a restaurant, unless a) you’re starving and there’s no other restaurant around, b) you’re not starving but there’s a beer in your hand and you’re with some fun company or c) that meal is free. But if you must go to this trendy restaurant and don’t mind the wait, order the full set, and make sure you sit at the counter for privacy.

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