Ask any Japanophile for must-try food places in Tokyo, and Gyukatsu Motomura will more than likely top most lists. This chain brand has practically become an institution, with its have-it-your-way, deep-fried breaded beef cutlet drawing queue past lunch hours.
While there are a few outlets scattered across Tokyo, I’ve been told the one in Shinjuku is its OG outpost. You’re advised to stake your spot about 15 minutes before opening time, which is when most customers start queueing.
A word of caution – the queue gets incredibly long and slow-moving, and you could even find yourself standing for extended periods in the narrow staircase leading to the eatery’s main premises. The lack of ventilation means it could get really stuffy and cold or hot, depending on which season you’re visiting Tokyo in.
That said, you’ll soon find your appetites whetted by the pleasant aroma of meat sizzling at every table as soon as you step in!
The beauty of chain eateries like Gyukatsu Motomura is that its menu comprises one single dish – a testament to the kitchen’s well-honed craft. You can choose from 100g to 260g cuts, depending on how ravenous (or ambitious) you are, and a standard Beef Cutlet Set Meal sets you back about ¥1,400. There are also plenty of condiments to enjoy your gyukatsu with.
Now for the moment of truth. I appreciated how each slice was thin enough that it could be cooked quickly, yet also decently substantial on its own. The breaded exterior is crisp, anf the beef melts in your mouth even without any condiments. Do try to flip them slices quickly, though, as the meat did tend to stick to the grill after awhile.
While it wasn’t the most mindblowing, Gyukatsu Motomura is worth a visit if you’re in Tokyo. Just come early or be prepared to queue!
Address: Japan, 〒160-0022 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Shinjuku, 3 Chome−32−2 モトビル地下 1階3
Nearest Station: Shinjuku
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (daily)