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I am thinking of trying this place for lunch 1 day this week (possibly today) - going solo most likely (is there a counter to sit at)? Question - is tonkatsu a way of saying pork katsu or is it a particular preparation? I've read about the katsu curry but also to try the "tonkatsu" plain w/a special dipping sauce? I've never had katsu am looking forward to my 1st experience! Thanks!

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  1. As far as I've ever experienced, tonkatsu is crisp, batter-fried pork cutlet, usually sliced and served with a dark brown sweet-and-sour dipping sauce that tastes like Japanese A1. Pretty simple. I love it. Is that what you're expecting?

    1 Reply
    1. re: New Havener

      That is exactly what I'm expecting! The curry sounds good too - I'll have to try that next time!

    2. If you've never been there, Katsu-Hama is in the back of the take-out sushi store, so walk through the curtain to the restaurant. You will really enjoy it, free refills of miso soup, rice and shredded cabbage, and of course all the katsu sauce you want. Tried the filet katsu, free range chicken katsu and creamed crab croquettes, all were very good. Enjoy your meal.

      1. New York has many regional and specialty Japanese restaurants, but Katsu-Hama claims to be the only dedicated Katsu (cutlet) restaurant. I was steered there by my friend Donna, whose home-team advantage is a Japanese husband. Variety is nice, but there’s something to be said for a place that specializes. Though there are a few departures, the menu is almost exclusively katsu in various preparations, from straight-up to curry. Katsu-Hama is part of the Matsuya International restaurant group, which also runs Menchanko-Tei, one of my favorite noodle shops.

        I had the pork cutlet lunch (pork can probably be called the ur-katsu), which was served with rice, pickles, shredded cabbage and a miso soup of the day. Instead of a standard, every day white or red miso, they serve a different augmented soup each day; I had a delicious egg and onion miso. Katsu-Hama boasts of their gourmet pork, organic eggs, fresh-baked breadcrumbs and quality oils. The result was indeed a cut above any other katsu I’ve had in New York.

        There is a fun ritual involved in the katsu meal. One is served a bowl of roasted sesame seeds with a pestle. You ground the seeds and add the tonkatsu sauce to the bowl, then dip the slices of cutlet in the mix. Also on every table is a big bottle of delicious home-made carrot-sesame dressing for the shredded cabbage.


        2 Replies
        1. re: Peter Cherches

          It's nice to know there's a dedicated tonkatsu place in town. I'm not a big tonkatsu eater, but get asked all the time where you can find some in NYC. In Japan, it's almost always the case that tonkatsu is found at exclusive tonkatsu restaurants- although those places never do curry katsu. Might want to mention which of the two cuts you had- the "hire", relatively lean, or "rosu", which is fattier. Cabbage is served because it's considered an oil cutter. Cabbage should be free refills also.....BTW, cultural bonus coverage: In the Japanese language, "grinding sesame seeds" is a euphamism for brown nosing. Just doing a grinding gesture, in context, implies such.

          1. re: Peter Cherches

            Katsuhama is the only dedicated tonkatsu shop in NYC and makes what is likely the best version of tonkatsu available in NYC. Though there is quite a range of variability due to one of many factors in its execution, it's generally above average as far as NYC goes.

          2. I dined there once. The place was left entirely in the hands of the kitchen workers that night and maybe as a result, the food was revolting. I don't think much of the Menchanko franchise, but even for them this is a nasty establishment.

            1. I'm not a Katsuhama fan. The tonkatsu is pretty lame, but if you've never had it, you might enjoy it.

              1. I actually like Katsu Hama. The entrance has all these cute bento boxes and takeout items. I walk 11 blocks from my job at lunch to get one of these quite often because I think it is that good. I went there for lunch for the first time last week (the restaurant is located in the back) and really enjoyed the katsu even more. I am going there for an early dinner tonight with friends so we'll see how different the menu is. The pork cutlet was very fresh and tasty and they use organic eggs and make their own breadcrumbs. I disagree with the earlier posts. This is what they specialize in and I find that they do katsu very well.

                1. i also like katsu hama. the free refills is nice too, especially b/c the sesame miso salad dressing for the cabbage salad is so damn good. i usually end up using like half the bottle on the table. i also think i once heard that the tonkatsu sauce they have there is homemade. it's fun when they give you the toasted sesame seeds in the bowl and a mortar to crush it with. tastes great with the sauce.

                  1. Everything there is organic: pork, chicken, cabbage, eggs, etc. Plus the breadcrumbs, tonkatsu sauce and salad dressing are all homemade.

                    1. Katsu-hama. I second the above that you should get the pork tenderloin. It's a buck more and definitely more tender. It's the best katsu place in town. I challenge anyone to do better. The use free range meat. House made katsu sauce, house made panko, and as mentioned the grind your own toasted sesame seeds are a nice touch.

                      1. This is interesting, someone bringing this back up again. I originally responded as KatsuLover, a pre-registration name to this post. My family and I did a return visit to Katsu-hama on our last trip to New York this past spring. Being from Hawaii, we start hungering for rice and miso soup after traveling a while and eating bread, potato and pasta with our meals.

                        We all thought Katsu-hama still serves an excellent dinner set; soup, rice, shredded cabbage and pork filet and chicken katsu. The katsu sauce and sesame seeds add just the right touch, as does the salad dressing. It is what it is, katsu is not high end Japanese cooking, it's simple and basic, and Katsu-hama does a very good job of delivering that.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: curiousgeo

                          Just one point. Katsu's not high end, maybe, but there is way better katsu out there, just not in New York, I guess.

                        2. Just went to Katsu-Hama today. I have to say it was some of the best pork that I have ever had. The pork is tender, crispy and full of flavor. I will go again with more friends. If you are in this part of town, don't skip this place or you may regret it. The prices are very reasonable.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: dereklaw

                            After reading this thread in search of Katsu in NYC, I've been there twice in the past two weeks (I'm only in town for another 3 days -- I used to live in NYC, but we unfortunately had to relocate to the cornfields of IL --- and believe me, anything outside of meat and potatoes is really awful there). I'm kind of on a mission to find great authentic Japanese food! We've been to Men Kui Ten (56th and 6th) for ramen (we loved going to Mitsuwa and a place in Fort Lee which I discovered two days before we moved -- but right now, we're binded to the subway and walking) and Yasuda (THE BEST SUSHI EVER hands down..... that is if you can afford to splurge there.... and only eat there if you're being served by Yasuda-san himself -- among some of the memorable choices were "scallop sexual organ", a piece of Blue Fin Toro which is found near the tail just under the skin, and fluke tricep. Unreal!) . But back to the Katsu --- Katsuhama has the best katsu i've tasted outside of Tokyo. They are perfectly fried, not oily or greasy at all and it all melts in your mouth. I had the Tenderloin curry the first time and it was great! The curry had the perfect balance between spicy and sweet. And they had unlimited shredded cabbage. My husband had the Berkshire Pork katsu which he loved! They still give you the sesame seeds to grind up, depending on what you order. My second time there, I had the Ladies' Set Menu which was HUGE! For $17, you get rice, miso soup, pickles, seaweed salad, potato salad, regular salad and somekind of tofu. You also get one skewer of pork katsu, a prawn katsu and a crab croquette with shredded lettuce. I didn't really care for the crab croquette, but the pork and prawn are to die for!!! For dessert, there's one scoop of half red bean/green tie ice cream and a pumpkin tart which are also to die for ...... oh so good. Our next Japanese restaurant adventure is probably gonig to be a yakitori restaurant which I'm researching (probably Tori Shin) and hopefully a shabu shabu restaurant too....

                            1. re: supergirl78

                              A second branch will be opening above Menchanko-Tei on W. 55th (owned by the same group). I think they're still doing the renovations.