Hokkaido Butadon Tokachi
A pork on rice specialist that claims to use a grill method unique to the town of Tokachi, Japan, where the meat is cooked over a charcoal fire while it gets coated over and over again with a sweet soy sauce.
This small Japanese shop-house restaurant differentiates itself from Silom’s sea of izakayas and sushi bars by dedicating itself almost solely to Hokkaido-style grilled pork. Specializing in butadon (pork on rice), it claims to use a grill method unique to the town of Tokachi, where the meat is cooked over a charcoal fire while it gets coated over and over again with a sweet soy sauce.
There’s nothing particularly sophisticated about the setting; a mixed crowd of Japanese salarymen, Thai office workers and couples sit either at the plain wooden tables or prop up the bar, where you can see into the tiny open kitchen, occupied almost entirely by a sizable grill.
The menu is super simple; apart from the grilled pork, you’ll find grilled chicken, salmon and blue Japanese mackerel, available in sets of various sizes. The butadon can be enjoyed with either plain miso soup (B190/220/270) or the more substantial house soup (B220/250/B300), which comes with mixed vegetables, tofu and potato. The latter is particularly well-rounded owing to the saltiness of the miso being balanced by the sweetness of the potato.
The pork bowl is a sight to behold—all golden brown pork covered with a sticky, caramelized sauce—and yet the flavor is far lighter than expected, though still enjoyable. For us, the star dish is probably outshone by the grilled chicken (B150/190/230), which is juicier, tenderer and simply more flavorful. The salted grilled mackerel, too, comes in a delicious, crispy skin but the flesh remains nice and succulent.
Disappointingly, when it comes to drinks, Hokkaido Butadon Tokachi runs a little dry, with only a small selection of plum sake and Asahi beer. Evidently this is no place for after-work drinks. Yet, if you’re looking for some decent and affordable grilled meat, this is the spot—just don’t expect too many fireworks. Cash only. No corkage charge.
This review took place in November 2015 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.