Kimukatsu Review: Mille-Feuille KatsuJune 16, 2019
- Pamela CortezWords
I have a brother-in-law who is absolutely, unequivocally obsessed with tonkatsu. He has dragged me along to countless lunches and dinners, to try almost every katsu place in the region. All these trips have made me very opinionated about what I look for in my katsu. I go all out, always ordering the rosu—usually the fattiest cut—because really, lets admit it—it gives the best bite. Having more soft, unctuous, semi-melting layers of fat always tenderizes pork, and encasing all that in a crisp layer of panko bread crumbs only increases your gustatory experience.
The thought of eating in Kimukatsu terrified me—I am the type of person who commits to their favorite meals, and was unhappy that I was being dragged to a katsu place that didn’t specialize in my favorite rosu cut. “What is this damn 25 layer business?”, I thought. Why do these people have to try and recreate the moistness that fat achieves, in a different way? Why can’t they let me cheat on my diet properly?
The answer is because Kimukatsu believes they have achieved taste and texture superior to other cutlets, with their 25-layer, mille-feuille style katsu. By cutting their pork paper-thin and layering it, the natural juices are meant to stay within each piece. Kimukatsu also cooks their pork at a lower temperature for 8 minutes, then sets it aside. This is meant to let it heat inside evenly, and make the cutlet less greasy.
When the katsu is in front of you, I have to say, picking up a piece is visually impressive, as all layers are evident at first sight.
Here, sets are served with unlimited rice, miso soup, shredded cabbage and pickles, which have become the norm for tonkatsu joints around the city. It is a feast, and everything is cooked well, even though the flavors at Kimukatsu are the same as they are everywhere else. The signature katsu comes in 7 varieties—Plain, Garlic, Black Pepper, Cheese, Negi Shio (spring onion), Yuzu Kosho (yuzu and chilli pepper), and Ume Shiso (sour plum and shiso leaf). When the katsu is in front of you, I have to say, picking up a piece is visually impressive, as all layers are evident at first sight. The yuzu pepper, with layers of yuzu paste tucked in between each thin slice, looks even more appetizing.
Plain is definitely for purists, but when compared to rosu cutlets, it isn’t all that impressive. If you come to Kimukatsu, order the flavored katsu instead.
Plain is definitely for purists, but when compared to rosu cutlets, it isn’t all that impressive. The difference in moistness and texture isn’t extremely noticeable, and the porky flavor, while present, is not so intense. If you come to Kimukatsu, order the flavored katsu instead, since this stuff will really be what sets them apart from the rest. Garlic had a strong, pungent aroma, and the bite to match it. Yuzu Pepper was also successful, with an acidic kick, followed by a subtly punchy heat. I tend to eat my tonkatsu the way I was taught by a Japanese chef—dipped in flaked salt that has been ground together with sesame seed, then finished with lemon—and this method suited both those flavors. Ume Shiso was a little less successful, without either the tartness of the plum or the taste of shiso leaf shining through. The seafood set was also serviceable, with a plump oyster making the grade.
If you are into pork for its precious, precious lard, then I suggest sticking to your favorite tonkatsu joint.
The service was friendly and efficient, and the place, decked in black, was a lot sleeker, and more refined than other restaurants that serve up similar fare. However, in spite of how much it tried, Kimukatsu couldn’t convert me from my Kurobuta rosu-loving ways. The food is definitely good, including other menu items such as Agedashi Tofu, and worth a visit, but if you are into pork for its precious, precious lard, then I suggest sticking to your favorite tonkatsu joint.