Maisen Shokudo will make sure you get on the train with a full and happy stomach.

When you’re craving a meaty meal in Japan, katsu (pork cutlet) is one of the tastiest choices you can make. And when it’s tasty katsu, one of the best choices is Maisen.

Maisen is arguably Japan’s most popular maker of katsu sandwiches, and they also make outstanding katsudon (pork cutler rice bowls) and katsu bento too. The company is best known for its takeout-only stores in Japanese department store food sections, but we recently made the happy discovery that they’ve also got a sit-down casual restaurant, called Maisen Shokudo, inside Tokyo Station.

Looking at the menu, our eyes nearly watered with joy at the photos of beautifully fried fillets of pork, plus a few options that come with fried shrimp. The classy pork cutlet plates were tempting, but in the end we opted for a good old-fashioned katsudon.

You order by tapping on a touchscreen panel, and after selecting katsudon (かつ丼), you’re prompted to choose between pork loin (ロース) or tenderloin (ヒレ). Usually, there’s a slight premium for tenderloin katsudon, which is a leaner cut of meat, but Maisen offers both for the same price, 980 yen (US$6.80). However, on this day we were in the mood for the pork loin katsudon, so we tapped the button on the left.

When we said this is a good old-fashioned katsudon, we meant every part of that description. Earlier this year, “tojinai,” or “unbound,” katsudon briefly became a trendy food in Japan, in which the cutlet is crisp-fried on its own, unbound from the egg. Maisen’s katsudon, though, is in the traditional style, with egg and cutlet together in glorious golden harmony in the bowl.

How much the egg is cooked varies by restaurant. Maisen’s style is to cook the egg thoroughly enough so that it’s not runny; it sits on the rice, as opposed to dripping down into it. As you eat though, the egg will blend with the flavors of everything else, and it makes for a fantastic combination.

The cutlet is of excellent quality. The pork is thick-cut and full of flavor, and the breading is substantial enough that it contributes to the taste and texture, but without feeling like it’s overshadowing the pork and egg, who are the stars of the show.

Maisen’s Tokyo Station restaurant is located inside the JR ticket gates, in the Gransta Tokyo section between the Marunouchi North and Yaesu North gates. Now that we know it’s there, and how good its pork loin katsudon is, we’ll have to remember to try the tenderloin one next time we’re passing through the station.

Restaurant information
Maisen Shokudo / まい泉食堂
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku Marunouchi 1-9-1, Gransta Tokyo 1F
東京都千代田区丸の内1-9-1 グランスタ東京1F
Open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (weekdays), 10 p.m.-9 p.m. (weekends)

Photos ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]