Eating at Tonki, one of the oldest katsu shops in town, is a mesmerizing experience. You walk in expecting to have some above average tonkatsu but what you are met with is a well choreographed show – a tonkatsu ballet if you will. There is always a line but it moves quickly as Tonki is quite spacious by Tokyo standards. Once you enter the bright and sparkling clean dining area, you are quickly seated at a U-shaped large bar that surrounds the kitchen and your order is taken immediately. It shouldn't take long to decide as there are only two choices: fat or lean. Once you've ordered, sit back with a beer and watch the symphony begin. Each chef has his role in the assembly line: order-taker, breader, fryer, cutter and plater.
The main event is the badass OG chef who stands in the center of the kitchen watchfully waiting over the boiling vats of oil for just the right moment to grab a piece of scaldingly hot tonkatsu with his bare hands to cut into precise portions. As you're watching the orchestra of efficiency unfolding before you, It's easy to forget that the purpose of being there was to actually eat the tonkatsu. But then a set of freshly fried katsu on a bed of fresh shredded cabbage is presented in front of you and it's everything that fried pork should be – crispy, tender and just the right amount of savory fattiness.
Are there better tonkatsu spots in Tokyo? Possibly. But watching a Tonkatsu Shokunin in action makes Tonki one of the best tonkatsu experiences in town.