Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Tonkatsu Wako

Location: Tonkatsu Wako

Rating: Very good
Meal:  Lunch
Price:  1300 yen
Payment:  Credit Cards accepted
Dish:  Rosukatsu Nabe Gohan
English Menu: Yes
Smoking:  No

Another Daie mall place, Wako's (as we call it) is a chain restaurant that specializes in tonkatsu, or breaded fried stuff, usually pork, but also chicken, shrimp, and other things.  Their typical dishes consist of breaded fried stuff, plus a mound of cabbage, bowl of rice, and bowl of tiny clam miso soup.  But my favorite dish is the one I had today, the rosukatsu nabe gohan, which translates to fried fatty pork loin in an onion/egg sauce.  It also comes with lots of cabbage and the other things.

Lunch specials
If you aren't up for a big lunch (I skipped breakfast today, so I was hungry), the special menu has several cheaper options.  Even though it may not look like much, there's no excuse for leaving this place hungry as you get free refills (okawari) on the cabbage, rice and miso soup!  Each of these side dishes deserves a little time on it's own.

First, the rice is some of the best stuff I've had anywhere.  It is consistently one of the most perfect expressions of Japanese rice I have come across, and it fills its role as a palate cleanser well.  I never thought I'd get used to not putting soy sauce on my rice and eating it plain, but this stuff is excellent.  Not that you never come across nasty rice in Japan (I'm talking to you SRF Cafeteria!), but when you find the good know it. 

English menu

Next the cabbage, which I'm not normally fond of, is very finely shredded and normally you are expected to apply some of the thick tangy apple vinaigrette on every table.  I am not fond of the dressing however, so I usually just wolf it down plain.  But with *this* dish (the rosukatsu nabe), I pile it on top of the steaming dish, let it wilt down and then eat it as a savory vegetable.  Yum.

More fake food!
The small clam miso soup at Wako's is the best version of the soup we've had anywhere in Japan.  Several places serve a clam broth miso soup, with varying sizes of clams.  Wako's uses tiny clams that are a bit tough to get the meat out of (though it's excellent chopstick dexterity practice), but for pure flavor, they win.  I'm sure there's a better clam miso soup out there, but we have yet to find it.

Rosukatsu Nabe Gohan
The rosukatsu dish itself is delicious.  It comes in a metal pot still bubbling with a small flame under it.  The onions have been cooked in the same delicious sauces that many different Japanese dishes use (soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, and vinegar).  Egg is mixed in just before they serve it, so it is still cooking as you start eating.  The rosukatsu (fatty pork loin, as opposed to hirekatsu - lean pork) is placed on top and some sauce poured over. This deliciousness is eaten with the rice, cabbage and miso soup as you like.  It's a pretty heavy meal, so I usually don't end up getting seconds on any of the side dishes.

My wife absolutely loves Wako's too, so I don't go here as often by myself.  But since I was ravenous I thought it was time...and I'm glad to get the review up.  There are a few other tonkatsu places in Yokosuka that I'll get to eventually, but this one is great for consistency and that incredible clam miso.

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