Wednesday, September 21, 2016

(1159) Still in Akihabara

From outside it looks like a neighborhood Japanese-style restaurant that, as the sign says, specializes in tonkatsu (とんかつ), that is breaded, deep-fried pork cutlets. 

But if you look across the street, you see a long queue of people waiting before it's even open so you start thinking that "Marugo" (丸五), very close to the heart of Akihabara, is not a regular restaurant. 

At some point the restaurant hangs the noren curtain which means they are now open so people start entering. 

Like its outside, "Marugo's" inside doesn't seem particularly exciting: just a counter and a couple of tables. 

Tea while waiting for the order to arrive. 

Two kinds of pickles for those who want something to clean their palate. 

And a cute pot for the toothpicks.

And then the food comes: on the bottom, a rosu-katsu (ロースかつ) and on the top a hire-katsu  (ヒレかつ) -loin and fillet respectively hence the latter is a little more expensive. They are served with shredded cabbage and -if you order them as "set"- with miso soup and rice. The little bucket contains a sauce that tastes like Worcestershire sauce -the Japanese consider it a sacrilege to eat katsu without sauce.  

A close-up of the rosu-katsu...

...and the hire-katsu. Unfortunately the pictures cannot convey the religious experience that comes with eating at "Marugo". There isn't even one detail -how crispy the bread crumbs are, how much the cutlet has being fried so the meat can have the perfect balance between juicy and cooked, the amount of fat or the meat to cabbage ratio- that hasn't been given the most extreme care.   

This is the reason "Marugo" is in the Michelin Tokyo Guide: after all, it isn't just a regular neighborhood restaurant. But at the same time it is -and this is what makes Tokyo, Tokyo.  

(For a bigger version of these pictures both in color and black and white, check my "Japan Arekore" set on Flickr)

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