Kyoto Katsugyu is a Toronto restaurant that fries and slice up gyukatsu.
You've probably heard of tonkatsu — the Japanese tradition of panko-covered pork that goes back several centuries. This variation uses gyu, or beef, instead.
While it may seem like a no-brainer twist on tonkatsu, the popularity of beef katsu has only seen a rise in popularity in recent years despite being just as, if not more, delicious as the pork original.
Landing on a quiet part of Dundas just east of the bustling Yonge-Dundas Square, this location of Katsugyu, a Kyoto-based chain with scores of stores across Japan, marks the first in Toronto.
According to Katsugyu, the difficulty of perfecting beef katsu, paired with a general attitude of maintaining the integrity of the tonkotsu tradition, is the main reason why gyukatsu has only just started to take off in Japan.
Here, the main focus rests exclusively on gyukatsu made with high quality beef, served medium rare.
You can pick from five different cuts of high grade beef: ribeye rolls, chuck flap, tenderloin, tongue, and premium wagyu.
Unlike other panko crusts, Katsugyu's special breadcrumb mixture tastes lighter, more refined, and far less oily than other versions I've tried. Each piece is deep fried for 60 seconds to achieve an ideal medium rare.
No matter your order, you'll get a bowl of miso soup, rice (which is extra fragrant with barley mixed in), some fresh wasabi, and a dish of dashi soy sauce, kyoto pepper salt, and worcester.
You'll also get a pile of cabbage. Make sure to add some of the delicious ponzu salad dressing available at every table.
Orders like the tenderloin ($28), the ribeye ($23), and chuck flap ($19) also come with a bowl of mildly spicy Kyoto curry sauce, though you can also order a bowl on the side for an extra $1.
The wagyu gyukatsu, easily the most expensive meal at $40, comes with an onsen egg and is ridiculously tender. Realistically though, none of these cuts disappoint when it comes to texture.
If you want to try a few different cuts at the same time, there are half-and-half meals that range from $24 to $28 that let you combine any pair, except for the wagyu.
A Kyoto matcha beer ($7.50) is like a Japanese St. Patty's day drink. Matcha powder adds some interesting bitterness to this Sapporo base.