Gyukatsu is a delicious Japanese dish not many may have heard of. It is similar to tonkatsu, a fried pork cutlet dish. The difference is that gyukatsu uses beef, and is prepared in a unique way. Here’s my take on the experience.

Gyukatsu set

Hidden in the backstreets of Akihabara is a small yet popular store that goes by the name of GyuKatsu Ichi Ni San. I was brought there by a friend who claimed it was the best place in Tokyo to get gyukatsu. It was my first time trying the deep fried beef cutlet, and I was pretty excited to find out what it tasted like.

Cook it how you like

The most interesting part about eating gyukatsu is that you get to fry the meat yourself!

When I sat down and my dish was served, I was presented with a stone plate sitting atop a small fire. This is meant to be my for me to cook the meat on to my preferred level of doneness. The meat has a crispy breaded exterior, but the interior is raw with generous fatty marbling. Right away I started picking up the slices of meat and placing them on the stone to fry it, flipping when one side was cooked.

There are three recommended ways to eat gyukatsu.

  • Salted
  • Wasabi and Shoyu sauce
  • Sweet horseradish sauce

While I recommend tasting each variation, part of the fun of the experience is experimenting and trying out different ways to cook and enjoy the meat!

Alongside the meat came a salad, rice, miso soup, and grated yam to pour onto the rice. Additional rice can be requested free of charge.

Frying the meat on the pan

The standard set costs only 1400¥ or approximately $14. For those with bigger stomachs, you can order a larger set (as I did pictured in the first image) that doubles the amount of meat for twice the price. The biggest cost is the wait time but if you go on the weekdays and/or during lunch time, the lines should be substantially shorter.

Since visiting Gyukatsu Ichi Ni San, I’ve been to two other gyukatsu restaurants (both under the name Gyukatsu Motomura). The food and price for each place is nearly identical so if you’re looking for a unique experience and some delicious food, it’s something you can’t miss out on.