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Dec 1, 2003 08:40 AM


  • j

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.