I can’t say that I know my tonkatsu well enough to properly describe what it should and shouldn’t be. However, there are certain points that need to be present in order for a piece of breaded pork to be remotely considered tasty, delicious – “authentic” Japanese, even. “Authentic” is used loosely because I haven’t been to Japan to savor tonkatsu the way the locals prepare it. Basically: the breading needs to take to the meat well. The meat in turn, has to be tender, moist and flaky. Above all, it should be tasty enough to dampen my inclination to dip everything in soy sauce and vinegar just so I can appreciate it. That’s just how I roll!
It also makes sense that katsu places can find their niche in the Metro. It’s a natural tendency for Filipinos to appreciate anything fried and breaded, especially if paired with rice.
Katsutei is a relative newcomer in the katsu area. We just happened to pass by their restaurant without the slightest intention to have dinner there, but my friend was intrigued, especially having dined at Yabu recently, and hey, it didn’t hurt that at the time, they slashed 20% off their meals as a welcome treat for customers!
What drove me to order pork tonkatsu curry (240php with miso soup and a regular sized drink) instead of the usual tonkatsu meal with shredded cabbage? Well, I’ve had a tonkatsu meal at Yabu before, plus Fish and co.’s seafood curry has been on my mind since I tried it. Since my order would still have with it a piece of breaded and fried pork, there was no harm in trying it out.
Basic verdict: The tonkatsu curry is good. The pork is perfectly breaded, soft and flaky, not tough at all. I’m beginning to appreciate curry even more if it’s paired with a breaded piece of happiness. Come on, I love pork! They can get stingy with the side vegetables, but I think that’s expected given its price.
They serve iced green tea with their combo meal – I like anything remotely related to green tea, so I had no problems with it. I’m not sure if they actually used chilled green tea from actual tea leaves or sweetened green tea powder to make their drink though.
Sure, 200 – 300 pesos isn’t exactly a budget meal, but what you get with that amount is a plate of what good tonkatsu should be. It’s a notch cheaper than Yabu’s offerings, and strangely enough, after discussing it with my friend (same friend dined with me at Yabu and Katsutei), she would gladly go back to either restaurant. Go to Yabu for an emphasized authentic Japanese katsu experience; go to Katsutei to get your quick and simple katsu fix sans the frills. Either way, you will be satisfied.
I’ll definitely go back to try their interpretation of the tonkatsu meal (215php with miso soup and regular drink), and perhaps the fish katsu with tartar sauce and fries (165php with miso soup and regular drink), and the crispy chicken teriyaki don (185php with miso soup and regular drink). But for now, there’s a steaming bowl of adobo rice with my name on it that requires my attention.
Upper Ground Level, SM City North EDSA
North Avenue corner EDSA
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines