While the “Kanno Mille-Fueille Set” may sound dainty, this mountain of meat from Tonkatsu is a Drink is anything but.
“Tonkatsu (pork cutlet) is a Drink” is the name of a new restaurant that just opened in Tokyo on 1 August. This eatery that caters to mid-commute salarymen has generated a lot of buzz right off the bat for its unique name.
The name is actually an extension of the Tokyo area chain Curry is a Drink which is a concept you can probably imagine more clearly. So Tonkatsu is a Drink is simply a name that ensures the same quality as Curry is a Drink and adds a dash of playful absurdity.
▼ Curry is a Drink
We had originally planned to visit this establishment on its opening day, but the line was so long that we weren’t able to get in. So two days later our own P.K. Sanjun returned and arrived early to ensure entry.
He was actually too early, but he learned that anyone who wants to get in with the first wave of customer, probably only needs to arrive 15 minutes before the doors open. In our case it all worked out in the end though as P.K. was the very first customer inside that day.
Tonkatsu is a Drink’s menu was rich and varied with its choices of cutlets and side dishes. However, P.K. got right down to business and ordered the largest item: The Kanno Mille-Feuille. This is a stack of a “Thick” Pork Cutlet, a “Dry” Pork Cutlet, and a Sirloin Beef Cutlet.
Altogether it is 360 grams (13 ounces) of meat. Also, in the same fashion as Curry is a Drink, customers allowed to choose three of their favorite side dishes to go with their meat monstrosity, and there is also a bowl of rice which can be refilled as long as you still have meat on your plate. Altogether this meal is at least 600 grams (21 ounces) of food all for 1,740 yen (US$16).
It only took about five minutes for his order to arrive, and its appearance was daunting. The 16th century Daimyo Mori Motonari taught us the principle of the “three arrows” wherein one arrow is easily broken in two, but three arrows together are much stronger than the sum of their parts. In the same way a typical cutlet isn’t terribly gut-busting, but three together creates a powerful meal.
Each layer of meat wasn’t all that thick, but they had their own unique deliciousness and crispy outer texture that was outstanding.
The names “Thick” and “Dry” aren’t meant to be taken literally. They’re part of the “drink” theme of the restaurant and describe the taste and texture much like a “dry beer” or “thick [stout] beer.”
▼ Sirloin Beef Cutlet
▼ “Dry” Pork Cutlet
Our reporter’s favorite layer was the Dry Pork Cutlet, and combined with the plentiful bowl of sauce and bottomless helpings of rice, it was a satisfying meal to say the least.
It wasn’t easy, but in the end P.K. managed to finish the entire thing. In terms of both deliciousness and portions, the Kanno Mille-Feuille Set was well worth the price of admission. Even if you have hippo DNA and can easily handle the triple-cutlet serving, the unlimited rice will ensure that you’ve had your fill.
But even if you’re just interested in a human sized meal, Tonkatsu is a Drink has got you covered with it’s wide menu, so be sure to check it out. However, while the hype is still surrounding it, we remind you to go at least 15 minutes before the door open to avoid line-ups. Either way, it still beats camping for three days outside of a Docomo shop during an iPhone release.
Tonkatsu is a Drink / とんかつは飲み物
Tokyo, Toshima Ward, Ikebukuro 2-53-11
Hours: 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. / 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Open seven days a week
[ Read in Japanese ]