Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tonkatsu Wako

The restaurant floor of Isetan department store is an air conditioned haven from the heat and crowds of Chun Xi road on a summer weekend. There is a Thai place, a Japanese buffet, a cha can ting (surprise), and a tonkatsu place. I walked to each restaurant looking at menus and chatting with the host staff before picking Tonkatsu Wako, which specializes in Japanese breaded fried pork cutlets in a variety of preparations. The menu here, with its set meals and snacks, is very suited to the solo diner and shopper.

The server, who also spoke Japanese, did a good job explaining the menu and making recommendations after I asked for help. (I am putting an English menu label on this post, but it's mostly romanized Japanese). The host brought me some English magazines to read while I waited for my order, and I noticed him chatting in Japanese with a couple of young guys while they looked at map of the city. When my order arrived, the server also helped me figure out which seasonings to use with which food and how to eat it. Teapot and mug:

The panko breaded pork cutlet had decent flavour but was quite thick (not pounded/tenderized) and should have been fried a little hotter; it was greasy. The accompanying pile of cabbage was fresh and crunchy, but a little too wet. The miso soup had a lot of tiny clams at the bottom, which was a treat. There was a little dish of tonkatsu sauce and mustard to mix in for heat and some curious Japanese pickles. The food here is good and is a nice change of pace from regular Sichuanese food but doesn't meet the standards of the service and decor.

Address: Tonkatsu Wako, 7th floor of Isetan department store, Chun Xi rd

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