Katsuya Shinjuku Nishiguchi (Tokyo 2016): Ordering Katsu by Vending Machine
Back in November, we finally made a trip to Tokyo and I have to say that it was an experience that will be well remembered. After our 10-hour direct flight from Vancouver and subsequent hour-long, 3-train ride to our hotel, we headed out in search of food. The good thing about Tokyo is that there’s food aplenty here. The bad thing is that there is so much choices to pick from.
Heading out to the busy Shinjuku area, we finally decided on having our first meal in Tokyo at Katsuya Shinjuku Nishiguchi, right next to a Curry House Coco. This restaurant is tiny (as most restaurants are in Japan) and is about a 3 minute walk from the nearby Shinjuku Station. Of course, most of the writing is in Japanese but you can tell from the pictures that they specialize in tonkatsu… breaded and deep-fried pork cutlets.
This is one of the restaurants where you place your order outside via a vending machine, pay for it, and then bring your ticket inside and find a spot to sit while they make your order. I suppose that in a society that doesn’t employ tipping at restaurants, this is a very orderly and efficient process. But for us foreigners, it was a little daunting at first due to all of the available options. We wound up looking at the pictures in the menu and then matching the number to the button on the vending machine and it worked out pretty good.
After purchasing our meals, we went inside the restaurant and gave our tickets to the host. Like most restaurants, I noticed that you need to push the door in a certain spot to trigger the door to slide open (instead of trying to slide the door open yourself). Inside, there were no tables but a long communal counter on both sides of the restaurant with stools.
We wound up ordering the #6 Prawns, Minced Pork and Pork Bowl (¥690). The prawns were heavily breaded, like the rest of the deep-fried meats, resulting in a very filling meal. The minced pork patty was actually quite good.
We also ordered the #13 Fillet Cutlet with Egg Bowl (¥740) which came with a similarly prepared pork cutlet on rice along with onions and egg.
The food came out efficiently and there’s condiments and complimentary drink on the counter in front of you. The tonkatsu was as good as any that we’ve had before but, like many utilitarian eateries in Japan, there’s not much atmosphere here. This is a good place to try if you just want to get in, eat some good food, and get out. Pricewise, our rice bowls came out to about $8 CAD so a pretty good value given how filling it was.
This location is actually pretty close to the Yakitori Alley – Memory Lane, a narrow alleyway that’s crammed full of tiny yakitori restaurants, and an interesting place to take a stroll through at nighttime.
1 Chome-2-12 Nishishinjuku
Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyō-to 160-0023
3 minute walk from Shinjuku Station