It’s tough for a tonkatsu restaurant to stand out in Tokyo; chains and cheap joints on seemingly every street beckon to anyone scouting for a quick meal. It all tastes decent, but why settle when you can go to Enraku? Their Sangenton heirloom pork tenderloin from Yamagata is leaner and lighter than at most places, but also tastes gloriously fatty. Contradictory, yes, but we’re definitely not complaining.
Located in the business district between the Hamarikyu Gardens and Tokyo Tower, the family-owned restaurant has hardly changed since opening in 1950, making it a piece of living (and delicious) history. For three generations, the Ma family have specialised in serving beatifically juicy tonkatsu to hungry salarymen and locals.
Enraku’s tour de force is their rosu (loin) katsu teishoku – a set of tonkatsu, shredded cabbage, rice, creamy potato salad, pickled vegetables and hearty miso soup (don’t forget to add some katsu sauce and a dollop of Japanese mustard). Such a feast may result in a food coma, but it’s blessedly more forgiving on your arteries than most Western counterparts. The katsudon is another popular staple that combines sweet with savoury; egg, cutlets, cooked onions and broth rest over a bed of rice. And curious pescatarians needn’t feel left out — deep-fried oysters and shrimp are also available.