Gyūkatsu Motomura Shinjuku Minamiguchi in Tokyo, Japan

Gyūkatsu Motomura Shinjuku Minamiguchi, with a line out front, in Tokyo, Japan
Gyūkatsu Motomura Shinjuku Minamiguchi, with a line out front, in Tokyo, Japan

One of my favorite things to eat in Japan is tonkatsu, a deep-fried breaded pork cutlet. When I heard about Gyūkatsu Motomura Shinjuku Minamiguchi, which serves gyūkatsu, a breaded and fried beef cutlet, I knew I had to try it.

Gyūkatsu Motomura, with branches located around Tokyo, has become popular with both locals and tourists. You will always find a line out front of their shops. This is especially true at their more popular locations in Shinjuku and Shibuya.

Motomura specializes in gyūkatsu, a breaded beef cutlet that is quickly deep-fried, leaving it rare and rich on the outside.

On my visit, I stopped by their Gyūkatsu Motomura Shinjuku Minamiguchi location, located near the south exit (Minamiguchi) of Shinjuku Station.

If you are looking for more information about Tokyo and Japan, I highly recommend you pick up a guidebook such as Lonely Planet Best of Tokyo 2020

Waiting in Line

The line continuing down the stairs, Gyūkatsu Motomura Motomura Shinjuku Minamiguchi, Tokyo, Japan
The line continuing down the stairs

When I arrived at 11:30 AM on my visit, there was already a line out of the door and on the sidewalk.

The line continued down the stairs after passing through the small front door. The stairway was narrow, with enough room for those exiting to pass by.

Inside the door was a section for luggage. It was interesting how even people leaving Tokyo felt it was important to first stop at Gyūkatsu Motomura.

I could smell the wonderful aromas of fried beef coming up the stairs from the kitchen down below, which made the wait feel even longer.

 Orders placed and paid for near the bottom of the stairs, Gyūkatsu MotomuraShinjuku Minamiguchi, Tokyo, Japan
Orders placed and paid for near the bottom of the stairs

After waiting for 30 minutes in the claustrophobic stairwell, I finally reached the bottom of the stairs.

A friendly lady was standing near the bottom of the stairs. She was a worker who handed me a menu and took my order. She spoke limited English, but I had no problem pointing at the menu.

After ordering, I paid another worker, a man dressed in all white. He was standing just inside the door leading into the dining room. One thing to note, it was cash only.

Gyūkatsu Motomura Shinjuku Minamiguchi Menu

The menu at Gyūkatsu Motomura Shinjuku Minamiguchi, Tokyo, Japan
The menu at Gyūkatsu Motomura Shinjuku Minamiguchi

In Japan, it’s common to find restaurants specializing in only one food item. The Gyūkatsu Motomura menu was no different. They served gyūkatsu, a type of beef cutlet, and nothing else. There should be nothing else that you would want to order.

The only other options you need to make is if you want the 130g (4.5oz), 200g (7oz), or 230g (8.1oz) serving of beef. You could also make it a set (cabbage, miso soup, rice, pickled greens) with or without yams.

Interior of Gyūkatsu Motomura Shinjuku Minamiguchi

After finally passing through the door and into the smoky dining room, I realized why there was such a long wait. Just like the narrow stairs leading down to the restaurant, the dining room of Gyūkatsu Motomura was small. The warm wood throughout and bright lights made the simple space feel bigger than it was.

Directly across from the door was a small counter with cramped stools and just enough room for a handful of people. To the right was a tiny nook with a few small tables. If your party has more than four people, I recommend finding somewhere else to eat as this was not the best restaurant to handle larger groups.

Behind this counter was a small open kitchen. From the bar, I had a great view of the chefs and workers preparing each dish, slicing beef, and scooping bowls of rice.

The restaurant was quiet except for the staff whispering and jazz music playing lightly in the background.

Beef Cutlet (200g) Barley Rice Set

Beef Cutlet (200g) Barley Rice Set, Gyūkatsu Motomura Shinjuku Minamiguchi, Tokyo, Japan
Beef Cutlet (200g) Barley Rice Set

I decided to go with the 200g Beef Culet Barley Rice Set (1,700 yen or $15.70) . It was the perfect size for one person. Also, it was colorful and beautifully presented. I was hoping it would taste as great as it looked.

The set, served on a black tray, included 200g (7 oz) of rare sliced beef cutlet. On the side was rice, cabbage, miso soup, potato salad, pickled greens, and wasabi. There were also two types of dipping sauce.

What surprised me was how thin the breading on the meat was. It was nothing like the thick and crunchy breading of pork tonkatsu. But this was a good thing.

The gyūkatsu breading was almost nonexistent but crispy enough to complement the tender, rare meat underneath.

What I loved was how the meat was the star of the dish, not the breading. Even with the breading, I could taste all the flavors of the rich meat. Even more impressive was how the chefs managed to lightly fry the outside of the beef while keeping it rare on the inside.

Flat Stone Grill

Stone grill at each table used to cook meat
Stone grill at each table used to cook meat

What made Gyūkatsu Motomura such a unique experience were the individual flat stone grills at each table. I could cook each slice of the meat exactly how I wanted, a perfect ruby red medium rare.

Some people love rare meat, while others prefer steak well done. With the hot grill, you have the power to prepare your meat exactly how you want it.

After a few seconds on each side, the breading on the outside became crispy and hot, while the inside was a perfect medium rare. The perfect contrast of tender and crunchy. I wouldn’t recommend cooking the meat for too long as it started sticking to the grill the longer it was cooking.

I couldn’t believe how delicious and succulent the meat was. Every slice just melted away in my mouth like butter. The beef was intensely rich and flavorful, with the perfect amount of fat and marbling. The meat was perfect, no matter how you prepared it. I only wished I had ordered the larger size.

Dipping Sauces

Dipping sauces for the beef cutlet
Dipping sauces for the beef cutlet

After grilling the meat, I dipped each slice into the sauces for even more flavor. On the right was soy sauce, which I mixed with wasabi. On the left was a horseradish sauce that might have had some ginger mixed in.

Beside the sauces, there was pink rock salt. A sprinkle across the cutlet changed the flavor profile of the meat.

Served along with the beef cutlet was a huge pile of sliced cabbage, a small but delicious mound of potato salad, a simple miso soup with spongy dried tofu, crunchy and fresh pickled greens, and a basic bowl of white barley rice.

I’m a big sliced cabbage fan. I can’t get enough of it, especially when it’s piled high on the plate. It was crispy, crunchy, and fresh and the perfect complement to the breaded and rich meat.

Also, a small glass container of dressing for the cabbage, a mixture of oil and vinegar, was on the table. The dressing was slightly watery and had a sweet flavor, reminding me of the aroma of an orange with a hint of ginger.

Service at Gyūkatsu Motomura Shinjuku Minamiguchi

The service at Gyūkatsu Motomura was fast and professional, which was surprising, considering how many people were waiting in line and how many people they were serving. Also, my food arrived quickly.


Visiting Gyūkatsu Motomura Shinjuku Minamiguchi was an experience. Everything was great, from the food to the service. While there was a wait, it was well worth it.

Grilling each piece of beef over the hot grill was a great experience. I could prepare the meat exactly how I wanted, making every bit even more delicious. It doesn’t get better than that.

My only complaint is that when I left, my clothes smelled of smoke and grilled meats. This may not be a bad thing.

With branches across Tokyo, I highly recommend a visit to Gyūkatsu Motomura.


  • The gyūkatsu was beautiful and tasted even better/li>
  • Grilling meat on the hot stone was a great experience/li>
  • High quality ingredients for the price
  • Service was professional


  • Cash only
  • Usually a line which can extend onto the sidewalk
  • THe staff only knew limited English


Daily: 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM


3-32-2 Shinjuku, B1F, Tokyo
GPS Coordinates: 35.689961,139.703788



Last Updated on April 18, 2024

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My name is Anthony and I am addicted to traveling all around the world experiencing new people, cultures, and foods. These are some of my stories.