Everyone knows what Tonkatsu is but have you ever tried Miso Katsu? Yabaton is a famous Tonkatsu restaurant in Nagoya and the exact thing that makes it special is the red miso sauce. The red miso sauce is made from red soy beans which is famous in Nagoya. The red miso is matured naturally in cask weighted down by stones for several seasons like the traditional way. The red miso becomes sweet smelling and rich in flavour with this fermentation method. The miso sauce is then made by boiling the miso paste with pork and other special ingredients for several hours.
The outlet we went to is located in the Matsuzakaya department store which is huge with 3 different buildings. The mall is like an up market mall just like Takashimaya with many high fashion brands. The 10th floor is filled with different restaurants for shopper to take their meal breaks. One of them is the Yabaton.
Other than Ton Katsu, the restaurant also serves many kinds of other katsu like chicken, seafood, oysters and even asparagus.
The restaurant is quite spacious and is pretty crowded during meal times. We queued for approximately 5- 10 mins before getting a table as we visited after meal times around 1-2pm.
One of the reccomended item on the menu is the teppan tonkatsu which is a huge deep fried pork cutlet lying on a bed of shredded cabbage on a sizzling hot plate.
For customers who ordered the hot plate katsu, we were given a cloth disposable apron to prevent the sauce from splattering on our clothes.
The teppan set comes with the katsu on hotplate, miso soup, rice and a small plate of pickled vegetables.
You have 2 choices for rice, the plain rice or the red bean barley rice.
The teppan katsu get served in this hot sizzling plate and when the hotplate is placed in on the table, the server pours the special red miso sauce generously onto the ton katsu and you get this entire hot and steamy sight right in front of you. The heat from the hot plate totally brings out the strong aroma of the miso.
The katsu is cut into thick slices and the miso is totally saturated onto the crispy skin of the katsu. The katsu is juicy and tender to the bite and there are approximately 8 slices per serving which is quite huge. The miso flavour has a very deep earthy flavour and taste very different from the normal miso. Different layers of earthy flavour, bean taste, salt, sugar and alcohol taste can be tasted from the miso itself. It totally elevates the taste of the ton katsu.
There is also a bottle of vinegar sauce that can be eaten together with the cabbage. For those katsu not served on the hotplate, the cabbage is served fresh without any seasonings so this sauce will be very refreshing. It taste like a mix of vinegar and soy.
For my cabbage on the hot plate, it has absorbed the goodness of the red miso sauce and the cabbage has turned soft and juicy from the heat of the hot plate. To be more adventurous, I decided to add the vinegar sauce to my cabbage and surprisingly the combination of the miso, heat, vinegar sauce actually made the cabbage taste exactly like the German sauerkraut.
Overall, I enjoyed my meal at the Yabaton as it presented me a Ton Katsu which I have never tasted in other places. The addition of the red miso really brings out a flavour that elevates the ton katsu to higher level on the palate. I will eat here again if I happen to be in Nagoya.
Address: Matsuzakaya Minamikan Department Store 10F, 3-16-1 Sakae, Naka-ku, Nagoya 460-8430
Operating hours: 10 am to 8 pm