丸山吉平 Maruyama Kippei
東京都台東区浅草橋5-20-8 CSタワー107 1F
Tonkatsu has never been a favorite of mine, but because it’s so hard to find decent tonkatsu in New York City, I always crave it when I go back to Japan. I’m usually very satisfied eating my mother’s tonkatsu, but I wanted to find something amazing.
I browsed through Tabelog to narrow down some of the most popular tonkatsu spots in Tokyo. Instead of reading the reviews, I just looked at the photos to decide whether it was worth checking out or not. One of the places that really caught my attention was Maruyama Kippei.
Upon arrival, at about 1pm, there was a short line of about 8 people outside. Maruyama Kippei is located in a residential area of Asakusa-bashi, and there are only about 10 counter seats (there is one table but it’s for reservations only).
On the door, you will see a list of warnings:
- Only up to 3 people can wait inside
- Wait behind the yellow line until you are approached by a staff
- We do not provide any other receipt besides the one generated by the ticket machine
- We refuse anyone who dislikes fat or who feels dissatisfied with these rules
- The table seating is available through reservation only
If this kind of thing turns you off, you probably shouldn’t bother waiting to eat here because you will just feel annoyed or uncomfortable. We waited for about 20 minutes to get a seat, and it took another 10-15 minutes or so to get our food. The owner chef was the only person working, so I had no complaints about the wait. You have to choose what you want to eat before being seated, and there is a ticket machine so you can take care of payment beforehand. I ordered the tenderloin, and my friend ordered the loin (the chef asks you whether you prefer a fattier or leaner cut).
There are little signs of rules all over the restaurant, including “please keep phones away”, so I snapped these photos while the chef was looking away! The portions were huge, but the tonkatsu was surprisingly light, especially the breading. It seems this guy makes his own tonkatsu sauce, which is not that common.
I haven’t eaten tonkatsu at that many restaurants in Tokyo, but I am fairly certain that Maruyama Kippei probably serves some of the best around. The tenderloin was so moist and juicy (medium rare), and the breading was super crispy yet fluffy. The cabbage was so thin yet crunchy. There are signs all over the place explaining that the pork served is SPF, which is basically hogs that are beyond antibiotic free because they are raised in a ridiculous clean environment. Not quite sure what that means really, but the meat was amazing.