When you talk about “Katsuretsuan” in Yokohama, Not only the citizens of Yokohama but also the Tonkatsu lovers all over Japan know the name of this famous restaurant.
It was born in Yokohama where Western culture and exchanges started before Tokyo and has been loved by many people even to this day.
Its story and the secret of its deliciousness will be introduced.
Unrivaled Cutlets Born from Rich Overseas Experience
The founder of Katsuretsuan had a career that was completely unrelated to cooking. After graduating college, he was employed at general trading company. He was an international person and traveled to Europe in a time when very few Japanese ventured overseas and later became a diplomat in Northern Europe. However, after returning to Japan he quit his company and repeatedly failed in his business efforts.
During this time, he saw potential in the Tonkatsu he just happened to eat in Tokyo and his research began. The cutlets he created through repeated enhancements with his rich overseas experience as the background had a high degree of perfection. Thinking "This can be a business" he decided to open a shop.
"Tonkatsu" is a fried pork dish that the Japanese conceived taking "cutlet = côtelette (wrapped and fried)" as a hint and is one of "Yoshoku (Western foods) = Western style Japanese cooking" representative of Japan. Western culture came first to Yokohama and there were many Western shops however, Katsuretsuan with "Cutlet" as its main menu was highly regarded.
The Original Style Passed Down Since Its Establishment
In naming the shop "Katsuretsuan" the founder had wished to "win aggressively" and also includes the meaning of a finally settling on a living after retirement = habitation. Through providing delicious foods, he felt that he wanted to succeed in his life's final business venture.
In this manner, the cutlets of Katsuretsuan are made in an original style making them extremely delicious. The crispy "breading" used are bread crumbs made by a nearby group company "Bashamichi Jubankan (a famous cafe that also sells bread)". It is made from bread that is baked and made with an original recipe to match fried foods.
Additionally, Katsuretsuan's sauce is made with the method unchanged and passed on from the shop’s establishment. Veteran skilled chefs slowly stew vegetables and fruits for 2 days with care then let it rest for another day to complete the sauce. It's recommended that you generously pour it over the cutlet and enjoy the taste.
Successive owners since its establishment have inherited the taste and the thoughts without change and even today, the 4th generation of Katsuretsuan convincingly satisfies the tongues of people in Yokohama.
Friendship with Renowned Artist Shiko Munakata
Shiko Munakata (1903-1975) was a famous Japanese artist. He created numerous woodblock prints and was the first Japanese to win the Grand Prix at the Venice Biennale, having been acknowledged for the acme of Buddhist paintings and won extreme praise. Munakata and the 2nd generation owner of Katsuretsuan were friends. Because of this relationship, Katsuretsuan is in possession of many Shiko Munakata's works. Two pieces from the Grand Prix work, "Two Bodhisattva Buddha Ten Great Disciples" can be also viewed at the Bashamichi General Main Store. The characters for "勝烈庵 (Katsuretsuan)" are also from the brush of Shiko Munakata.
In addition to woodblock prints in the Bashamichi General Main Store, there are handwritten books, water color paintings and other works exhibited that cannot be seen anywhere else and you can taste the powerful world of Shiko Munakata and cutlets at the same time.