49. Pork Cutlet Curry at Cafe Hiro
Bless you tonkatsu.
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Café Hiro's may be the finest tonkatsu curry I've had since Tokyo. The pork--cut as thick as the first Harry Potter book, then fried under a light panko-crust and with a small quivering piece of the fat still attached--is great in and of itself: the perfect ratio of juice-bursting pork chop to golden-brown breading. But then there's the ocean of curry lapping onto the white beach head of rice--a flavorful sludge almost as thick as the peanut-sauce for Indonesian satay.
The spicing level for the curry is customizable all the way to scorching, but I always go for mild. This, I've discovered, is where all the curry flavor, sweetness, and richness exist in perfect balance. And since curry has been fully adopted into Japanese culture as pizza has to ours, Café Hiro offers it with the required condiments of pickled shallots, fukujinzuke (pickled radish), and rehydrated raisins, all of which I use as prodigiously as red pepper flakes and parmesan on a slice of pepperoni.
If you're a Cafe Hiro regular but haven't tried this curry, you're like a New Yorker who hasn't ever eaten the pizza.
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