One of the best Tonkatsu restaurants in Tokyo is called Butagumi, located in the neighbourhood of Nishi-Azabu, not far from Roppongi. Butagumi’s specialty is the delicious Pork Tonkatsu, the breaded pork cutlets served with shredded cabbage, miso soup, rice and pickles. At Butagumi, they have an extensive menu with not only different cuts of pork, with different levels of fattiness, they also have a selection of pork from different regions of Japan.
Butagumi Restaurant is housed in an old 2 story Japanese wooden house, located in the back streets in a residential area of Nishi-Azabu. There are dining tables downstairs as well as upstairs. If you are seated at the tables upstairs you will need to take your shoes off to climb the tiny wooden staircase.
The menu is in English and the waiter we had spoke excellent English. He explained the menu and told us about the different cuts of pork used and how each had a different level of fattiness, allowing us to choose the cut of meat that suited our tastes. The menu also has a diagram of the pig showing where the meat cuts come from. As a guide, they have Tenderloin Fillets which is the leanest of the meats with very little fat. The Sirloin Regular is mildly flavoured with a thick layer of fat on top. The Sirloin Deluxe is the rib / shoulder blade which is more juicy than the sirloin regular and has more fat content. The fattiest of the meats is the Pork Belly, usually used to make bacon. The menu says it is very high in fat which makes it delicious. That was enough for me to decide to go with pork belly cut.
After you have ordered your meal, the waiter brings out a complimentary ‘Amuse Bouche’ which is a small appetizer dish. We were each served a small plate with a small piece of roasted chicken, a cracker with cheese and some baked cherry tomato.
For entree I ordered the delicious, grilled beef sausage. Now 2 of us each ordered the sausage, 1 serve each. They served both sausages on 1 plate which we just cut into pieces and shared with the entire table….I would have preferred the delicious sausage entree to myself!
For the main event came my delicious pork belly tonkastu came out. Everyone else at the table choose different cuts of pork with less fat content. I really think I was the winner at the dinning table as my tonkatsu was cooked to perfection with a nice dark coloured crust to the tonkastu. The cuts of meat with less fat content, had a much paler crust. I tried a piece of the tenderloin and it was very tasty but as the menu says the very high fat content in the pork belly makes it delicious.
It is highly recommended to have dinner reservations at Butagumi. When we arrived a few minutes before the restaurant opened at 6pm, there were already 5 groups of hungry dinners waiting outside. When the restaurant opened, the waiter came out and asked who had reservations. Everyone raised their hands. He proceed to let each group in one by one after he had checked their names against the reservation list.
They also have dessert on the menu, a selection of 3 dishes. They had an unusual Mochi which was made from wheat rather than the standard rice mochi. They also have ice-cream of the day. I chose the ice-cream which was Tiramisu ice-cream, tiramisu being one of my favourite desserts, This ice-cream was delicious, rich and creamy and just topped off an excellent meal at Butagumi!
Butagumi Tonkatsu Restaurant
2 Chome-24-9 Nishiazabu
Ph: (03) 5466 6775
Website: http://www.butagumi.com/nishiazabu/ Website in Japanese
Check out the location of Butagumi Tonkatsu Restaurant Nishi-Azabu Tokyo