There’s nothing gourmet about tonkatsu. Those deep-fried cutlets with their crisp, appetizing exteriors concealing juicy chunks of rich, fatty pork are, for many, the ultimate expression of Japanese comfort food. But, as with other types of downhome cooking, the best purveyors often become the object of popular devotion. That is certainly the case at Narikura.

From the very start, this modest basement diner has stood out from the pack. This is thanks to owner-chef Seizo Mitani’s rigorous focus on using premium quality pork, frying each katsu “low and slow,” and serving it without any attempt at high-end affectations. Needless to say, the word spread fast, first among local aficionados and then further afield. Now, six years on, Narikura boasts one of the longest lines of any restaurant in the city and a permanent place on the map for foodie tourists visiting from other parts of Asia.

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