Our first stop for dinner after arrival in Tokyo and our last restaurant before going home - a routine we’ve followed on many trips to Japan. Musashino specializes in tonkatsu. Their tonkatsu is brilliant: freshly fried and served hot and succulent. It’s a neighborhood restaurant that doesn’t often see gaijin, and they were alarmed some years back when we first entered; but we ordered successfully using the words given us by Lonely Planet. I doubt the owner recognized us when we returned at the beginning of yet another trip, but he certainly does by our second visit.
An order comes with miso, rice, very thinly shredded raw cabbage and pickle, and there's a pot of special sauce on the counter. I prefer the hire katsu teishoku (the leaner cutlets) my husband orders the rosu katsu teishoku (a fattier cut) That and a beer or two and we have a great dinner. ¥1200 per set, plus ¥500 for beer. Amazingly the price is the same as it was six or seven years ago, but there seem to be fewer pieces of pork on each plate - no matter, it is more than enough to fill you up. They have other things on the menu including prawns, but we always have tonkatsu.
You can almost miss Musashino when you walk by. The front windows are covered with bamboo screens and if you try to look in you may see a few plants on the sill and the backs of diners sitting on raised chairs. All the seating on the ground floor is at a counter that surrounds the open kitchen. We always wondered what the downstairs was like, where only familiars seemed to be sent. On one visit, the upstairs seats were all taken and we were directed to the lower level. Turns out it’s nothing special, just a sizable but bare room with perhaps half a dozen tables with chairs and a raised perimeter platform for zashiki seating. We opted for zashiki. We prefer the upstairs counter area, but will happily eat in either location.