Kokubunji Tonkatsu Katsura 国分寺とんかつ桂

Kokubunji tonkatsu

Kokubunji Tonkatsu Katsura

Katsura is a homey tonkatsu shop about a kilometer north of Kokubunji station on the Chuo line. There is a perpetual line out the door. But the other day while biking by the line was shorter than usual and I joined the queue.

There is a small table in the back and a counter with tight seating. I was seated at the counter with my back to the sliding door entrance. In Japan you get used to the fact that you may have to get up and out of the way, or maybe lean in to allow someone to pass at smaller restaurants like this.

The tonkatsu comes with a generous serving of homemade pickles and a generous serving of julienned cabbage. The tonkatsu is fried in lard and panko crust is lightly colored. The meat is juicy and the portions are generous. As to be found at most tonkatsu restaurants, unlimited rice and cabbage. Budget between 1,500 – 2,000 JPY.

Katsura is only open for lunch. This is an example of a shokunin, doing one thing, and doing it very well. I wouldn’t make a special trip from the city, but if you find yourself in this part of Tokyo, it’s good to have on your radar.

Tonkatsu Katsura とんかつ桂

Tokyo-to, Kodaira-shi, Jōsui Honcho 5-7-20 東京都小平市上水本町5-7-20

Tuesday – Sunday (closed Monday and 3rd Tuesday)

11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

 

Kokubunji Cribe Coffee

Yoshida-san of Cribe

Yoshida-san of Cribe

Coffee is hot, hot, hot in Tokyo. San Francisco’s Blue Bottle recently opened in Kiyosumi Shirakawa and lines have been very long. Throughout the city it is becoming easier to find a great cup of coffee. I am thrilled as my own ‘hood, Kokubunji, has its first third-wave coffee shop, Cribe. The owner, Yoshida-san is super friendly and the coffee is the best I can find on this part of the Chuo line.

Cribe Interior

Cribe Interior

Cribe opens at 7:30 a.m. and is open until 9:00 p.m. There is beer for late night visitors. The shop is small and has some benches along the wall and a small seating area in the back of the shop. Yoshida-san is serving sandwiches and doughnuts from a local shop.

Cribe Exterior

Cribe Exterior

I asked him how he picked Kokubunji to open a coffee shop and he said that he went to university in the area. I am thrilled.

Betty

Betty

This is an original coffee drink called Betty. It is a generous pour of cold milk topped with espresso. Can you see Yoshida-san’s reflection on the espresso machine? Great smile. And his Betty puts a smile on my face. Cribe Coffee – worth the trip.

Cribe

Kokubunji-shi, Honcho 3-5-5

090-9150-9111

https://www.facebook.com/lifesizecribe

Open 7 days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Nana Udon in Kokubunji 七うどん

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A recent issue of Dancyu magazine featured the hot noodle of the moment, udonUdon noodles are thick flour noodles. Restaurants are popping up around Tokyo and it’s not unusual to see long lines forming at lunchtime. Many of these shops have been around for a long time are seeing a new appreciation for these hearty noodles. In the Dancyu magazine I was thrilled to see a restaurant in our neighborhood of Kokubunji. It’s about a 15-minute walk from Kokubunji station. If you are ever near Kokubunji, it’s a good shop to have on your radar.

My first time there I asked the proprietress her recommendation and she suggested going with the standard inaka udon. She said that all of the udon comes with the tempura side dish. And, she did warn me that the portions are generous, echoing what Dancyu had also mentioned in their article. The photo above is the inaka udon which comes with a flavorful dipping sauce.

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The niku-jiru udon is a meaty soy broth with beef and onions and my favorite.

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Creamy sesame dipping sauce with udon and kaki-agé tempura, a melange of vegetables chopped up and deep-fried in a cake, and kabocha tempura. This is the small “sho” portion, for a bargain 600 JPY.

This area of Tokyo is known for Musashino udon which is a dark-colored udon that is very chewy. Nana does not serve the Musashino udon.  The noodles are softer yet still have a nice texture.

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The entrance, which is hard to see from the street.

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I had a hard time finding Nana as not only is it in a residential area, it’s a home. This is the exterior of Nana, and no, there are no signs signifying the restaurant.

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Actually, once I saw all of the bicycles parked in the driveway, I knew this must be it.

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The interior. Very simple, basically the living room of the home. This was a very early lunch, but it filled up quickly after we were seated. The husband and wife team are very kind. Portions of udon are very large so I suggest going for the smaller size. If you can’t finish your bowl of noodles you can put them in a plastic bag to take home.

Nana Udon XOn our second visit the wife gave us a bag of kombu Tsukudani to take home with us. She had warned us that it was spicy as it is made with tōgarashi, dried red chili peppers. We loved it over a bowl of steaming rice.

The shop’s great name is “Foot Stomped Udon” as the noodles are traditionally stomped by feet.

Ashi Uchi Udon Dokoro Nana 足打ちうどん処七

Tokyo-to, Kokubunji-shi, Honda 5-28-2 東京都国分寺市本多5-28-2

042-328-1002

Saturday – Sunday 11:00~14:00 (or until sold out)

Monday – Friday 11:30~14:00

Closed Tuesday, Wednesday, and each month on the 30th and 31st

Google Map