Jack Sprat could eat no fat, and his wife could eat no lean. The couple, though, would both eat heartily at Yamaichi.
The folks here treat their pork with respect. Jack would be able to savor Yamaichi’s lean and luscious pork filet (1600 yen) carefully deep-fried in a crisp tonkatsu crust. His wife could order the Yamaichi “ros” (1500 yen) with its strip of delicious pork fat nestled in unctuousness under the crust.
On the table are a panoply of 11 various additions to choose from such as Andes salt, yuzu kosho, shichimi, two kinds of shoyu, pickled scallions, mustard, two kinds of salad dressing, sesame, ponzu sauce, umeboshi, and bull-dog sauce.
The pork at Yamaichi is thicker that at most tonkatsu joints. It is expertly trimmed, weighed, and coated with a larger size of bread crumb.
Tonkatsu chefs sometimes use two kettles each of which heats the oil to a hotter or cooler temperatures depending on the thickness of the meat. Yamaichi uses a hotter oil resulting in a darker, golden brown crust.
The small restaurant is decorated with some style. The tables are dark, gleaming grainy wood. Framed modern lithographs hang on the wall. One brush-stroke calligraphic print asks the question: “What is a voyage?
Only about a dozen or so lucky customers can dine at one time. A short counter seats four. A large 7-seat table fills the room with space for only one small 2- seat table.
Don’t be surprised if you’re asked to share the large table with other happy customers.
With the teishoku set-menu you’ll get a small dish of the house-made pickles, which besides being arranged in a picture-perfect cluster, are lightly vinegared to add a bright counterpoint to the pork. A small wooden bowl of tonkotsu pork-flavored broth and a bowl of rice will round out the meal.
Be sure to spot the little Shinto shrine tucked into corner near the ceiling.
Yamaichi: 1-8-4 Kanda Sudacho, Chiyoda-ku. Tel: 03-3253-3335. Open Monday to Friday 11am to 2:30pm. Dinner: 5pm to 8:30pm. Saturdays: 11am to 2pm (L.O. 1:30pm). Closed Sundays and holidays.
The restaurant is about a one-minute walk from the A1 exit of the subway station which serves both the Ogawamachi stop of the Maronouchi Line, or the Awajicho stop of the Shinjuku Line.