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Saturday, May 12, 2012


Speaking of the cutlets in Kobe, how in the world do they decide the price for beef cutlets? I’m not talking about wiener schnitzel or cordon bleu here, I mean plain old beef cutlets.

               I think it’s a real shame that you can’t get them in Tokyo. A capital city without any beef cutlets? It’s like we’re in 1942 Stalingrad.

                You know, whenever I start thinking about them, I immediately turn into a beef cutlet fanatic like I’ve been swept along by a bullet train.

                Beef cutlets and bread are a truly delicious combination. I like to take beef cutlets and slather them with some mustard and butter, placing them between pieces of bread that are sliced just a little thin. Into the toaster oven they go for a light toasting, along with just two slices of watercress. To drink, maybe a glass of unsweetened ice tea, or perhaps a bottle of Märzenbier. Oh... oh yes...

Plain beef cutlets are best when they’re as large as the soles of size-9 sneakers. The meat can’t be too thick or too thin either. Meat that’s too thin just makes you look poor, and having it too thick is a let-down as well. Above all, the meat mustn’t have any gristle. The crust should be fried until crispy; its texture slightly firmer than that of pork cutlets. Also, you have to make sure that the breading isn’t too thin.

                It may be just a side-dish, but you definitely need shredded cabbage as well. Adding shredded cabbage to a plate of beef cutlets is like adding a Playboy bunny sticker to a Rolls-Royce. Noodles that are lightly boiled in salt water, kidney beans, watercress, and other simple sides are OK, but if it comes with a carrot demi-glace, you might as well throw it in your ashtray.  

                Now for the rice. A mix of barley and rice would be ideal, but since most restaurants don’t carry it, you’ll just have to settle for white rice. Something like a bread roll wouldn’t be proper at all.
                The way to eat a beef cutlet is around the same as how you eat a pork cutlet. The only difference is the sensations you get when you put a knife to it. The crispness of the breading, the meat’s tenderness that’s normally obscured by the characteristic firmness of beef, the breading again, and then finally the clack of your knife against the plate: it’s to die for!

                When I was a child, my father would take me to the movies, and on the way back we’d always have beef cutlets. From the window of the restaurant I could see the harbor, and the peaks of mount Rokko standing out in all directions.

                In the guide books for Kobe, all you’ll see are restaurants serving beef steaks (and if you just want that, there’s no point in going all the way to Kobe when you can get it at restaurant 10 minutes away in Tokyo!), with no mention of beef cutlets. Why is that?


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