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Serious Tonkatsu in Torrance: Kagura

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Reading the thread about katsu-don started by Johhny L about katsu-don last week:


gave me a tonkatsu craving, and after three days of thinking about fried pork I had do finally do something about it. I had suggested Johnny check out Kagura, a self proclaimed tonkatsu specialist in Torrance, although I had never been there myself. So I went there. To make a long story short it was REALLY good. It was by far the best tonkatsu I’ve had in the U.S., and it would be a very good representation of tonkatsu even if it was in Japan. I went for lunch and the place was almost empty. I ordered the Premium Loin Katsu Gozen, made with Kurobuta pork (Berkshire pig), and it was amazing. Incredibly tender, juicy, and very rich. There was a rind of fat on one side of the cutlet about ¾ of an inch thick, the way it would be served in Japan. Appetizers of chawanmushi (savory egg custard) and cabbage with onion dressing preceded the katsu, which takes about 15 minutes to prepare, and then the katsu is served with rice, pickles, and pork miso soup. Rice, miso soup, and cabbage can be refilled as much as you like, which is typical for a tonkatsu restaurant. If I had to rate it, giving the best tonkatsu I’ve had in Japan (and I’ve had a lot) a 100, I could confidently give their tonkatsu a score in the 90s. They don’t obtain the puffy auburn colored crust that you can find in the Japanese places that use coarse fresh panko crumbs, but it was still a solid A in the taste department. Tonkatsu sauce comes with sesame seeds in a mortar that you grind up before pouring the sauce into. For those of you who can’t handle the thought of that much pork fat, there is the other option of the Premium Filet Katsu Gozen, which is made with pork tenderloin. At $16 for lunch it’s not the cheapest tonkatsu you’ll find, but it’s a lot cheaper than flying to Japan.

BTW if anyone has been to Wako and can compare the two I'd like to hear a heads-up comparison. I'd go to Wako next if I weren't already thinking about going back to Kagura.

1652 Cabrillo Ave., Torrance, CA 90501

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  1. I can't let my son read your post, or else we'll be eating meals there from now until a better option comes along - the boy loves his tonkatsu. :) I've taken the liberty of posting Kagura's website link from littletokyorestaurant.com:


    Thanks for the nice post plus the brief but helpful info about tonkatsu-ya in Japan.

    1652 Cabrillo Ave., Torrance, CA 90501

    1. Hey, my wife just made some this past sunday. Will put it up against any restaurant's version. I love the stuff. Maybe we'll try it a Kagura and compare.

      1652 Cabrillo Ave., Torrance, CA 90501

      1. Thanks for the posting; Another great place to try for lunch.

        1. OMFG that picture looks GOOD!

          1. thanks for posting this.

            I recently tried Wako and I liked it, I was planning on trying about 5 places for what is supposedly good tonkatsu before doing a writeup comparing and ranking them all.

            I will either try Kagura tomorrow or saturday but I will post my notes on the meal when I can.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Johnny L

              Just came back from lunch at Kagura. I already posted on Exile Kiss's excellent if negative post. My brother and I greatly enjoyed Kagura as the best tonkatsu experience I've had here (I've never had tonkatsu in Japan). I too wonder how it compares with Wako. But it would be tough to beat the light panko crust and the cracked sesame seed in the katsu sauce.

                1. re: Ogawak

                  I probably wont be able to go this weekend but Wako does let you grind your own sesame seeds and the crust there is very light as well and does not appear to be Japanese panko but similar.