Tonkatsu is a dish many who have dined in Japanese restaurants are familiar with but until Yabu there has not been places that specialize in it. I’ve been hearing good things about Tonkatsuya, a little hole in the wall place somewhere in Makati. I also heard about the scarce parking spaces, so I picked a Sunday to venture there.
Tonkatsuya is located in The Palm Towers building, to get here from coming from EDSA, take Sen Gil Puyat going to Manila, then turn right on Pasong Tamo, turn left on Estrella, then left on St. Paul St. You won’t miss this building, then the hard park is next, finding a parking space. We were quite unlucky since only one side of the parking spaces were available due to maintenance so we were forced to park on one of the sidewalks. I can just imagine how hard it would be to park on a weekday.
We then proceeded to go down the basement with a laundromat in front of it, then after a few turns, we finally arrived at Tonkatsuya. I think the one in the corner there is the Japanese chef.
Interiors are nothing fancy, a couple of small tables capable of seating around 20 to 25 people max. We browsed thru the laminated menu, I expected nothing more considering the decor. The menu choices is wider than Yabu’s with sashimi and even ramen and udon. We were there for katsu so that’s wehere we concentrated, we ordered hirekatsu because the server said it was more tender. Not too sure if its hirekatsu or herikatsu since the menu makes use of both.
Lauren’s pick was the basic Herikatsu Set (P210), which came with shredded cabbage, a bowl of plain rice and a small plate of bean sprouts. There’s around 4 pieces of pork tenderloin which Lauren took care of, while Irene and I divvied up the veggies.
Irene could not resist ordering the Cheese Herikatsu Set (P245) when she saw it on the menu. Its basically herikatsu with strips of melted cheese on top. Being the cheese addict that she is, she gave me the evil eye when I wanted to try more than one piece. I liked the sharp cheddar taste and of course the bright yellow colors appeals to me visually.
I initially wanted to order the same thing as Lauren and wanted to add a piece of Ebi Katsu but since they did not have per piece order, the server instead suggested the Mixed Fry (P220). The set has 1 piece of Ebi Katsu (looking more like a long golden finger than a prawn) and 3 pieces of herikatsu.
Tonkatsuya’s katsu sauce pales in comparison to the pomp and pageantry that is Yabu with their seed grinding as well as the presence of the beautiful presentation. Tonkatsuya sauce is place in a little container on the side where you can just pour to your heart’s desire. This can also be used as dressing for the shredding cabbage. There is also a shoyu based sauced but no sighting for the sesame dressing that Irene likes. We asked and were told that there is an additional charge of P20 for a sauce dish size, Irene acquiesced and found it much stronger in flavor than the one from Yabu.
The first thing I noticed was that the breading was not as thick and crunchy as the one from Yabu, the katsu was also quite tender and not oily. The prawn was large and juicy after biting off the breading.
All of us were quite satisfied with our meal at Tonkatsuya but we could not help compare it to Yabu. Prices are cheaper here but you get less, the cabbage as well as the rice are not refillable, the sesame dressing is extra. Ambiance and decor are basic and its an adventure getting to their obscure location. Parking is the worst of all but despite these reasons, I still think you should check out Tonkatsuya and compare for yourselves.
Have you tried both Yabu and Tonkatsuya? Which one do you prefer?
Tonkatsuya Japanese Cuisine
LG/F Palm Tower C, St. Paul Road
San Antonio Village, Makati City