Sherman's Food Adventures: Mr. Tonkatsu (Surrey)

Mr. Tonkatsu (Surrey)

I'm sure most of you have eaten at, seen or heard of the Japanese tonkatsu spot called Saku.  For me, it was quite the wonderment that we didn't have a place like that sooner (even though Saboten, which is a quick-service stall in Aberdeen Mall, set up shop much earlier).  I mean, we already saw the influx of ramen shops open around the Lower Mainland for the past decade.  Why couldn't we have Japanese restaurants solely serving tonkatsu?  Well, as mentioned, we have Saku (now with more than one location) and we also have the chain Mr. Tonkatsu occupying the strip mall across from Guildford Town Centre on 152nd.  Similarly to Saku, the place is Korean-run, which is not a negative by any means, it just means we got to order some KFC!

This has actually been around for a bit and I originally saw Joyce post it first.  After a failed attempt on a Monday during the Summer (they are closed that day), we made an effort to drive out there on Saturday.  It was fairly busy, but we didn't have to wait long.  Before we got to the tonkatsu, we had the Crispy Shrimp which was good and bad.  The good was the light bouncy sweet shrimp.  On the other hand, the bad was the batter as it was crisp in some spots but soggy in others.  Next, we had a large plate of Soy Garlic Korean Fried Chicken.  Made with large strips of tender juicy chicken, the flavours really did pop.  Plenty of garlic and sweetness while the level of spice was a surprise.  We found the batter mostly crunchy except for a few softer spots.

My son had the Pork Tenderloin Katsu with refillable rice, cabbage and miso soup.  On the side, we found sesame with a mortar and pestle to go with the sweet tonkatsu sauce.  Generous in portion size, the tenderloin was soft, moist and almost airy.  It was still meaty enough though with a light crunch on the outside.  With copious amount of ground sesame and the sweet tonkatsu sauce (a bit too sweet though), this ate really well.  Just like last time at Saku, my daughter had the Chicken with Cheese Katsu (well, she had pork last time, but you get the idea).  This was so full of stringy mild-tasting cheese, it was leaking out profusely.  Chicken was juicy while the crispy coating was just the right contrast to the soft insides.  I would say this was just a bit less well-constructed than the one at Saku, but it still ate just as good.

Viv and I ended up sharing the Pork Loin Katsu Curry because the KFC was so filling.  This was also a large portion where the loin was not dry at all despite being lean.  Naturally, it was meatier and denser than the tenderloin, which was fine.  Although the panko held up well on the top, the part on top of the rice got really soggy.  We found the curry to be well-balanced where it wasn't too sweet.  There was a background spice and the plethora of onions added an extra layer of flavour.  This was pretty good as well as the other dishes.  However, I would say that Saku is better in overall execution.  Naturally, there is no Saku in Surrey, so Mr. Tonkatsu is a more-than-acceptable choice for the area.

The Good:
- Large portions
- Execution of proteins are on point

The Bad:
- Inconsistent texture when it comes to the breading

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